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How LA County Will Make Mental Health Therapy Available For Students

Elementary-age students are shown lining up outside a school painted light blue in masks
Students line up at Montara Avenue Elementary School in South Gate on their first day back to in-person classes. August 16, 2021.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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It should be no surprise to anyone that our young people are going through a lot right now. In just the past few years, they’ve had to navigate the isolation of the pandemic and learn remotely, they’ve had to deal with the effects of climate change, they’ve witnessed police brutality and a rise in other violent acts, like mass shootings. Throw in the effects of social media and it is a lot for anyone to process, let alone a still-developing mind.

Free Virtual Mental Health Therapy For Kids

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Many have pointed to a youth mental health crisis across the country, and L.A. is not immune. L.A. County has responded by unveiling a plan this week to offer virtual therapy for the 1.3 million students in their public K-12 schools. My colleague Robert Garrova wrote about how it will work.

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As someone who realizes the importance of having a therapist that understands your cultural background, one of the very first things I thought about while reading Robert’s article was the socio-cultural awareness of the therapists they will use. Nearly half of L.A. County’s population is Latino and there’s sizable Black and Asian populations, too. How will these therapists serve their specific needs? What about the students who are still learning the English language? Hazel Health, the telehealth company that is partnering with the county on this initiative said 60% of their therapists are people of color and about 30% are bilingual.

The Interim Director of L.A. County Department of Mental Health, Dr. Lisa Wong explained that these services are part of a larger effort across the county. "With Hazel Health providing students with supportive mental health services,” Wong said, the department “is better able to build our capacity to serve those who are most vulnerable in our population.”

Read more about this initiative here.

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(After you stop hitting snooze)

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  • It’s the first weekend of February, my friends and there’s so many cool events for you and me to attend. I think I might just attend the three-day Regeneration Summit: A Celebration of Black Cinema event at The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures this weekend myself because I love block parties, panel discussions and FOOD. It’s not Halloween, but are you a fan of haunted ghost tours? You should definitely check out this event at the Heritage Square Museum. Did someone say Big Freedia, NOLA’s finest, will be in town? Yes, you have the chance to hear her talk about her journey and her advocacy work at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

Wait... One More Thing

Grieving And Honoring Loved Ones In The Watts Healing Garden

A man with dark-tone skin and dreadlocks, wearing a black T shirt and grey shorts, holds a red shovel as he digs a hole. Next to him, a woman wearing a beige floppy hat, white shirt and jeans is also using a red shovel to dig
Phillip Lester, who leads healing circles to help survivors with their grief
(Andrew Dubbins/LAist)
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There’s nothing like getting away from the chaos in our world and stepping into nature. It’s calming, therapeutic and nurturing. This is especially true for those who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder. Today, I want to take you to Watts, a place that I know and love very deeply due to my familial roots. It is not a place where you would think you would find a garden. It is very asphalt heavy and has very little green space. But there's something special that just sprouted up: The Survivor’s Healing Garden.

The Reverence Project, a non-profit that supports survivors of crime and violence, just opened this garden for gathering and reflection. Their main goal? Rehabilitation. They have healing circles where participants have the opportunity to think about solutions, chat about the things that are going on in the community, and share resources for healing.

Read Andrew Dubbins’ story for more information about the Watts Healing Garden.

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