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LA County Seeks Members For New Mental Health Advisory Council

A billboard with a green background and the illustration of a mustachioed man reads: MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS 800-854-771
A billboard in Long Beach promotes L.A. County's mental health services.
(Megan Garvey
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Los Angeles County is encouraging people who have personal experience with mental illness or have lived through other traumas to apply to serve on a new mental health advisory panel.

The Peer Advisory Council will have 15 members who will give the County Department of Mental Health guidance on its programs.

The department defines “peer” as anyone who lives with a mental illness or substance use disorder, or has experienced homelessness or incarceration. A peer could also be a family member or caregiver of someone with such life experience.

“We’ve been through hell, right? And we got burnt,” said advisory council applicant Jason Garcia. “And now we want to assist others through hell without getting as burnt as we did.”

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Garcia works for Project Return Peer Support Network, training people on how they can apply their lived experience to help others going through similar traumas.

“If our voice is truly being heard and considered ... and we’re doing our due diligence on our end ... then I think it can be very, very beneficial,” Garcia said of the proposed advisory council.

A UC San Diego study of Black and Latino youth ages 16-24 with serious mental illness found those with peer support received outpatient treatment more often.

The deadline to apply to serve on the Peer Advisory Council is April 15. You can apply here.

What questions do you have about mental health in SoCal?
One of my goals on the mental health beat is to make the seemingly intractable mental health care system more navigable.