Today, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services unveiled a new building with an unusual feature “ the 14,156-square-foot building has a monument sign declaring it a Suicide Prevention Center. The new center in Century City has a high-profile location on one of Los Angeles busiest thoroughfares, where thousands of people each day will see the buildings sign, underlining the centers mission to bring suicide out of the shadows.
Bringing suicide out in the open doesnt put ideas in peoples heads. It lets them know where to go for help, says Didi Hirsch President/CEO Kita S. Curry, PhD. There are buildings all over Los Angeles that are called the Cardiovascular Center or the Cancer Center. But ours is the only in LA and Californiaand we believe the nationthat says Suicide Prevention Center.
Launched in 1958, Didi Hirschs Suicide Prevention Center is the first and most comprehensive in the nation. Its new standalone building at 10277 Olympic Boulevard adds individual and family therapy to the services the Center provides and nearly doubles the number of people answering its Suicide Crisis Line, a key member of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Expansion was critical as calls have increased fourfold in the last 10 years.
Services offered by the Center include support groups for people who have attempted or lost someone to suicide, individual and family therapy, community outreach and education for students, teachers, businesses, faith organizations, and first responders (including the FBI and LAPD SWAT) and certified training for mental health professionals to build a larger network of therapist who know how to aid people in a suicidal crisis. Among the centers new programs are support groups for teens grieving a loss by suicide.
Teens and young adults attempt suicide more than any other age group and each attempt increases the risk, Dr. Curry says. Its critical they receive therapy and support as soon as possible so they can learn healthier alternatives to deal with unbearable pain.
A defining element of the new Suicide Prevention Center is a public art installation underwritten by Pamela Kluft, Vice Chair of Didi Hirschs Board of Directors, in memory of her sister, Beth Hess, who died by suicide in 2012. Renowned activist and artist Ed Massey designed a 35 x 15 mural that Kluft and over 60 other survivors of suicide loss or attempts helped paint. The project, which was created in partnership with Masseys nonprofit Portraits of Hope, was also unveiled and hangs near the entrance on the north side of the building.
This artwork reminds all who enter that there can be healing and hope after suicide, says Dr. Curry, who helped paint the banner. She survived an attempt in her teens and has lost three family members to suicide.
About Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services
Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services is the nations leading provider of community mental health and substance use services. Dedicated to serving communities where stigma or poverty limits access, the agency has been transforming lives for more than 75 years through its innovative and comprehensive approach to care. Today, Didi Hirsch helps over 120,000 adults and children annually from 10 locations and nearly 100 schools in Southern California. Didi Hirschs Suicide Prevention Center “ the first and most comprehensive in the United States “ is a leading member of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and provides crisis services, therapy, support groups, training and research nationwide. Learn more at www.didihirsch.org.
Ashley Ray | [email protected]