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The LA County Board of Supervisors has proclaimed May 2nd as the “Day to Change Direction” for emotional well-being and has directed Jonathan Sherin, M.D. Ph.D., Director, LA County Department of Mental Health (DMH), to oversee a countywide discussion to advance a culture of awareness, understanding and dialogue around mental health issues and improve access to care for those living with a mental illness.

DMH, in partnership with Give an Hour and the Campaign to Change Direction (ChangeDirection.org/engage-la/), will create opportunities to engage, educate and inspire, focusing on five specific populations: youth, veterans, homeless, refugees and immigrants and seniors.

DMH and the Campaign to Change Direction urge everyone to change the way we view mental health issues in our communities in five ways:

  1. Create dialogue around: barriers around access to care, encouraging care of those we love and ourselves; and building community awareness.

  2. Learn the five signs of emotional suffering, including: personality changes; uncharacteristic anger, anxiety, agitation or mood; isolation; poor self-care and risky behavior; and hopelessness.

  3. Learn healthy habits: proper eating, sleeping and activity, getting emotional check-ups; engaging and connecting wisely in relationships; relaxing to reduce stress; learning the five signs of emotional suffering and ways to reach out, connect and offer to help those that might be experiencing challenges.

  4. Choose an idea to set the stage in your community

  5. Get engaged. Register at www.changedirection.org/engage-la/; take photos and post to social media using #ChangeMentalHealth; and share this with others.

“The goal is to create opportunities to engage, educate and inspire individuals and organizations throughout Los Angeles County to discuss emotional well-being of youth, veterans, homeless, refugees and immigrants and seniors,” stated Dr. Sherin. “This campaign aims to increase recognition of suffering in our communities by looking for the five signs and to decrease suffering by learning the five healthy habits.”

The following events offer a way to participate in the campaign. Engagement activities will invite our county partners, corporate supporters, non-profit friends, celebrity champions – and everyday citizens – to join us at events across Los Angeles County.

May 1:

6:30 p.m. – Writer’s Guild Theater, 135 S. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills. Red carpet screening of the U.S. premiere of “The Dinner,” a film based on the best-selling novel by Herman Koch. Starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan and Rebecca Hall, “The Dinner” is a powerful psychological thriller that explores the consequences of unaddressed trauma and mental illness in the lives of two families. Oren Moverman’s eagerly anticipated film will provide the perfect beginning for this three-day series of events.

May 2:

9 a.m. – Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple. LA County Board Supervisors Ridley-Thomas and Kathryn Barger will honor Change Direction representatives .

LACDMH Wellness Centers inspire dialogue around the County – for list of events, click here.

May 3:

7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. – Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Bing Theater, 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Global Summit on Mental Health Culture Change. The entertainment community joins thought leaders and stakeholders for a day filled with conversations, performances and experiences. The Summit will explore cultural barriers across and within groups – and examine innovative programs, inspirational movements and unique opportunities to promote and normalize conversations around mental health.

For more information: http://www.changedirection.org/2017-global-summit.

LACDMH promotes access to mental health services for all communities. If you would like info on programs or to speak with a multi-language subject matter expert, please contact pio@dmh.lacounty.gov

Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health is the largest county-operated mental health department in the United States, directly operating 75 program sites and more than 100 co-located sites. Each year, it contracts with approximately 1,000 agencies and individual practitioners to provide a spectrum of mental health services to more than 250,000 residents of all ages. The Department’s mission – enriching lives through partnership to strengthen our community’s capacity to support recovery and resiliency – is accomplished by working with stakeholders and community partners to provide clinically competent, culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate mental health services to clients in the least restrictive manner possible. For more information, visit http://dmh.lacounty.gov.

About the Campaign to Change Direction

The Campaign to Change Direction, a national initiative to change the culture of mental health in America, encourages Americans to care for their mental well-being just as they do their physical well-being. The campaign is led by Give an Hour, a national nonprofit organization providing free mental health services to the military and veteran community. Change Direction addresses common barriers to understanding mental health and raises awareness about Five Signs that may indicate someone is suffering emotionally and needs help: change in personality, agitation, withdrawal, decline in personal care, and hopelessness. Over 400 partner organizations are using their unique skills and opportunities to spread awareness. Organizations and individuals who are interested in learning more or making a pledge can visit www.changedirection.org.