Describe your partnership.
The UCLA History and Social Studies of Medicine program (part of the Semel Institute) has collaborated with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health since 2007. Together, we created the HopeStory website to share the stories and challenges of mental health programs and the strengths and contributions of mental health clients to help reduce stigma and to educate the public about mental health. The website includes oral histories, documents, videos and interpretative essays. We have used the website as a teaching tool for students and for community members. The UCLA team has also helped to collect and evaluate data about new LAC DMH programs, to serve as a basis for future policy and program development.
How does your project enhance community engagement for UCLA Health and/or the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA?
Our project engages UCLA faculty, staff and students together with LAC DMH staff and with mental health clients in the problem of re-integrating these clients in the community, reducing stigma, building social inclusion and increasing work and education opportunities, all of which are essential for maintaining true mental wellness. Through our ongoing relationship with LAC DMH, we build and sustain awareness of the challenges faced by mental health clients in Los Angeles County and the impact that new policies and programs have on their lives.