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Mental Health Peer Support Gains Traction In California

Keris Jän Myrick, chief of peer and allied health professions for L.A. County's Department of Mental Health. (Robert Garrova/LAist)
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L.A.’s mental health peer support services may get a boost in the form of a new law signed by Governor Newsom last week.

The idea behind peer support is simple: people who know what it’s like living with a mental illness helping others with their psychiatric condition. But backers like Keris Jän Myrick, chief of peer and allied health professions for L.A. County’s Department of Mental Health, say it’s time to take the model seriously.

“It’s hard to navigate everything, so [it helps] having somebody who’s been through [it] and they’re kind of like your GPS,” Myrick said.

The new law paves the way to expand the use of peer providers by creating a certification process and opening up the possibility for pilot projects funded by Medi-Cal.

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