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  • Client Info
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    • Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

      If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text:

      9-8-8
      (24/7, free & confidential)

      Or chat with a crisis counselor:
      Chat Now

      Peer-to-peer support for teens
      (Teen Line)
      800-852-8336
      6pm-10pm PST

    • Get Services

      For mental health or substance use services, call intake:

      LA County:
      888-807-7250

      Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:00pm

    • Crisis Counseling

      If you or someone you know has experienced thoughts of suicide, made a suicide attempt, or lost someone to suicide, we provide healing during and through your crisis.

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Discovering Empowerment at Didi Hirsch’s Youth Summit

“Remember what that felt like when you were a teenager and you accomplished something you never thought you could?  That’s what the Youth Summit is all about,” said Heather Sardella, Didi Hirsch’s Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Program Director.

Since 2016, therapists from Didi Hirsch’s Child & Family Division – and now the TAY Programs – have spearheaded the Youth Summit. The summit begins at the start of the summer for clients of Didi Hirsch, ages 14-18, with the goal of providing the opportunity to build community, practice the skills they’ve been learning in therapy, and step out of their comfort zone in a safe environment.

“Imagine being extremely anxious, feeling uncertain about participating in a group activity. Then realizing that all your peers are also dealing with something similar – be it anxiety, depression, or trauma,” expressed Heather. “It levels the playing field and makes youth feel less afraid – more able to practice their social skills, express their creativity, have difficult conversations about mental health, and step out of their comfort zones.”

Over the course of nine weeks, participants and therapists work together on a collaborative project. This past summer, the youth worked on creating the animated short, Thin Air. The film takes viewers on an emotional journey about learning to find peace in grief and deal with negative thoughts. The film has since premiered at several film festivals and sparked important conversations around youth mental health and well-being.

“I’ve been honored year after year to witness the absolute transformations that happen at the Youth Summit,” shared Heather. Teens uncomfortable in social situations make new friends, non-verbal teens find their voice, anxious teens give public presentations, and depressed youth express themselves through art, music and dance!” 

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