Breaking Down Barriers: Reflecting on the Impactful 2023 Mental Health Forum

In a collaborative effort to tackle the pressing mental health challenges affecting our community, FundaMental Change, and Mission Community Hospital recently orchestrated the impactful 2023 Mental Health Forum. Held with the mission of fostering positive change, this event featured thought-provoking panel discussions aimed at brainstorming potential policy solutions.

Distinguished guests and esteemed panelists graced the event, including the honorable U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, who delivered compelling keynote remarks on his passion for improving mental health access and support within the US Senate, alongside the recently announced Bipartisan Mental Health Caucus.

At the heart of the forum lay the exploration of policies, with a keen focus on those introduced by federal, state, and local legislators. From U.S. Congressman Tony Cárdenas to CA State Senator Caroline Menjivar, MSW, and California State Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, panelists examined existing policies and those in the pipeline aiming to reshape the landscape of mental health support.

Adding an international perspective, guest speaker Heather Wokusch, M.A., Founder & CEO of ELEARN.WORKS., traveled from Austria to speak on “Tackling Trauma: The Nexus of Mental Health and Policy.”

Further enriching the discourse were healthcare sector representatives including Debra Manners, LCSW, President & CEO of Sycamores, our very own Tania Fallert-Del Gatto, MA, LMFT, Associate Director of El Centro de Amistad, and Veronica Lewis, MPA, Director of HOPICS, Sr. Health Deputy Angelica Ayala, and Maryjane Puffer, Executive Director of The Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health, provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities in the mental health landscape.

The 2023 Mental Health Forum stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and commitment to finding meaningful solutions. By bringing together policymakers, professionals, and advocates, the event has paved the way for a more robust, integrated approach to mental health support in our community. As we reflect on the discussions and insights shared, we look forward to translating these conversations into actionable change for the well-being of all.

If you missed the conference you can view it here:

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