The Coalition of Mental Health Professionals (CMHP) Inc. is a private, nonprofit, community-based agency established in 1992, and the mission of the organization is to serve Los Angeles County through development of an agency providing mental health and related services/to enhance the well-being of the community and improve the quality of life.

“We created this organization on the heels of the Rodney King incident. We saw that there was a need to help the community heal after the insurrection and with everything that had happened in the city,” said Sandra Cox, Ph.D. “We really wanted to provide quality healthcare and expected that it (the help provided would be (done in) about a three-week process but realized that the need was too great to pull out that soon. Now here were are in our 20th year.”

CMHP provides services to the community, using professionals who are representative of the communities they serve. The Coalition of Mental Health Professionals Inc. offers individual, group and family therapy, psychological assessments, parenting courses, domestic violence and anger management classes and critical incident stress debriefing.

AIDS information, awareness, prevention and counseling as well as referral services are also available from nationally certified AIDS counselors. Everyday of the year, CMHP impacts the emotional, mental health and life skills needs of the community.

“We have many different programs and one of our biggest is the program for victims of violent crimes. Our community has more violence than it needs and many times victims feel as though they are left to fend for themselves,” said Cox. “We help and empower them to heal through therapy and counseling, and if they are willing to testify against their perpetrators the services are free and covered by the state of California.”

Cox said that CMHP also has a Family Source Center now which is free to low-income, Los Angeles residents and provides tax preparation, tutoring, summer day camp for youth, GED classes, English as a Second Language classes, financial literacy, dance classes with Lula Washington instructors, a pre-school program, free legal aid, as well as assistance with housing, food and clothing.

Aside from the numerous services that CMHP provides, each year the organization holds an Extraordinary Sunday Afternoon of Visual and Performing Arts, which Cox said supplies a significant amount of the organization’s operating funds.

This year’s featured artists will be Djibril N’Doye, Samella S. Lewis and Donna Woods and there will be live Jazz performed by the Lonza Lester Quintet featuring Jazz singer Dewight Tribble.
“We wanted to bring people together harmoniously and to soothe the human spirit,” said Cox. “We started off doing this with just a few local artists and now we have expanded to include these community advocates, and we are hoping for a fun and successful event.”

Additionally there will be a dinner reception, silent auction, and an awards ceremony honoring leaders in Southern California. The honorees are Gene Hale, president of G & C Equipment, Djibril N’Doye, world-renowned artist and painter, Hershel K. Swinger (posthumous), senior vice president of The Children’s Institute’s Project Fatherhood, and Lawrence Tolliver Jr. owner of Tolliver’s Barber Shop.

Individual tickets are $75 a person if purchased before June 24 and $85 at the door. Ten-person tables are also available for $1,000 and include a full page ad in the event brochure.

There are also a number of different opportunities for contribution through ad space and sponsorship ranging from $25 to $10,000.

All proceeds from the event will go to benefit programs of the CMHP and are completely tax deductible.

The event, which is now in its eighth year, will be held June 26 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Town and Gown of the University of Southern California, 665 Exposition Blvd. in Los Angeles.

For more information on the organization visit the website at www.mentalhealthprofessionals.org or call (323) 777-0372.