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Little Tokyo Service Center To Offer Free Suicide Prevention Training In 2023

Marian Sunabe and Matthew Yonemura stand side by side inside the Little Tokyo Service Center in Los Angeles. A sign above their head reads "Little Tokyo Service Center: Positive Change for People and Places." They stand in front of a wall of framed photos. The photo to their left is a black and white shot of a street scene from days past.
Marian Sunabe and Matthew Yonemura help run Changing Tides' mental health stipend program.
(Robert Garrova / LAist )
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A program of the Little Tokyo Service Center will begin offering free suicide prevention training in the New Year. They’ll use what’s known as the Question, Persuade, Refer method.

The backstory: Program Coordinator Matthew Yonemura says there’s a need within the AAPI community for more mental health services. This year his group was also able to provide nearly 70 people with free therapy sessions thanks to donations.

An underserved clientele: “A lot of these people are first-time therapy-goers. Or people who have gone to therapy and they couldn’t afford to continue. Or people who had gone to therapy and they did not have a great experience,” said Yonemura.

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Why it matters: Research shows that Asian Americans have fairly high needs for mental health services, but tend to underutilize them. The goal is to offer the suicide prevention training sessions virtually, in-person at the Terasaki Budokan and at schools and churches around L.A starting early 2023. Yonemura says he hopes to make the training available to anyone interested.

Go Deeper: Program Offering Free Therapy To Asian American Youth Expands: ‘We Feel Like We’re Saving Lives’

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One of my goals on the mental health beat is to make the seemingly intractable mental health care system more navigable.