Working together to build a healthier community for all of us.

Kaiser Permanente believes when we collaborate and support each other, our work improves the quality of health and life in our communities.

We are dedicated to total health of body, mind, and spirit, and we pursue efforts that broaden access to the highest quality care for people when they need it. We believe all of us deserve to live healthy lives in our homes, our workplaces, and our neighborhoods. That’s why, for more than 70 years, we have worked to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve.

We accomplish this work in countless ways, from funding knowledge and resource sharing programs that address health disparities to providing assistance with health care costs to people in need. Our commitment is exhibited in the many ways we reach out and work with others to build a healthy future for all.

Share Your Story

Our Community. Our Stories. Share Yours.

There are moments that inspire. Moments that touch your heart, open your eyes or inspire action. Often a single moment can achieve all three.

Moments like these happen all the time throughout our programs and countless others like them. If you come across one of these moments, please share it here. It may just be the spark that inspires one more person to get involved.

Submission Type
Uploading files…
Thank you! Your story has been submitted.
Next we're going to review your submission and if everything looks good, we'll approve it. We'll keep you posted via email once your story has been published.
Whoops! Something went wrong. :(
Either try again or contact us and let us know about the trouble you are experiencing.
  1. Gunny, the therapy dog, enjoys the attention received from Sierra Vista High School students.
  2. Sierra Vista High School students learn how Gunny, the therapy dog, comforts members and their families at the Baldwin Park Medical Center.
  3. Dr. Susan Coats introduces Elaine Jeche and her therapy dog, Gunny, to the Sierra Vista High School students.
  1. Slide 1
  2. Slide 2
  3. Slide 3

Student-Led Club Helps Raise Mental Health Awareness

Sierra Vista High School in Baldwin Park, California is home to East San Gabriel Valley’s first student-led National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on Campus Club. More than 150 members focus on a range of issues from depression to suicide prevention. In addition, they are making strides to help battle the stigma of mental illness that can exist in schools and throughout the communities.

In collaboration with Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Outreach Program, an academic and support service for primarily Latino and low-income youths in the San Gabriel Valley, the club empowers students to learn and help raise awareness of mental health, learn coping strategies, and life skills, and provide resources to students who need help.

“In the club, we talk about how to be mentally well,” said Dr. Susan Coats, psychologist, Baldwin Park School District. “Kids are stressed out and this club is providing coping strategies on how to deal with life.”

This program piloted during the 2016-17 school year, in partnership with NAMI East San Gabriel Valley, NAMI CA, and the California Department of Education, along with Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Outreach Program.

“Mental health is something everyone should learn about,” said Marisol Rodriguez, student and vice president, Sierra Vista NAMI on Campus Club. “People should take care of their mental health, just as they would if they had a fever.”

The club operates under the guidance of Dr. Coats, two Kaiser Permanente Educational Outreach Program Master of Social Work interns, Kaiser Permanente Educational Outreach Program’s Diana Rivera-Beltran, manager, and Ruth Padilla, social worker; and Sierra Vista teachers Melanie Graf, Mariana Tapia, and Ariane Ochoa.

“Kaiser Permanente Educational Outreach Program and Baldwin Park Medical Center have responded to the call to action to improve health in the communities we serve by leveraging our resources in support of NAMI on High School Campus programs,” Rivera-Beltran said. 

“Our partnership with local schools and the NAMI on Campus organization has yielded such positive results. We see students empowered to make changes in their school culture by becoming more accepting of others, not afraid to seek services when in need, and practicing the skills to be life-long health advocates.”

The club has boosted their skills with two training sessions at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center where NAMI CA officials taught students how to reduce the stigma related to mental illness. They also learned how to identify and understand mental illness, and where to look for mental health resources. The NAMI training has served as one of the largest in Southern California. Both sessions have benefited more than 100 students from 17 high schools, including Sierra Vista and Baldwin Park.

During National Depression Awareness Month in October, the club hosted an event featuring Elaine Jeche, a therapy dog handler at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center, and “Gunny,” a therapy dog certified by Therapy Dogs International.

“I think it’s important for people, especially youths, to understand what therapy dogs do,” Jeche said.

Jeche and “Gunny” visit the Baldwin Park Medical Center every Wednesday and Friday bringing comfort to members, physicians and staff in the emergency department, patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, and family members waiting for their loved ones in the waiting rooms.

While Jeche enjoys visiting the NAMI on Campus club at Sierra Vista, she believes sharing Gunny with the students opens them up to the therapeutic benefits of dogs.

“The club has been amazing, very powerful, and very healing,” Dr. Coats said. “Some of the club members want to go into the mental health profession because they either have a history of mental health illness or family members affected by mental health.”

The year-round club hosts on and off-campus mental health-related events and activities. Past events have included a “Directing Change” video competition where students created public service announcements on suicide prevention and reducing the mental health stigma; mental health discussions at the City of Baldwin Park’s Concerts at the Park; and an ongoing series of student-parent mental health events, which featured a Mental Health Matters Month series on suicide prevention in May 2017.