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Metta World Peace and KP Baldwin Park Celebrate Mental Health Awareness

Former Los Angeles Laker Metta World Peace joined Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park and other health and community leaders recently to raise awareness about mental health.

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Former Los Angeles Laker Metta World Peace joined Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park and other health and community leaders recently to raise awareness about mental health through a free community event. The event was a joint effort by Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park in partnership with the LA County Department of Mental Health, Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, and Sunburst Youth Academy.

“I'm very happy to participate in this mental health awareness event, because events like this help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health,” says Metta World Peace. “It is vital that we educate our communities and let people know there is nothing wrong with seeking out help when you need it. It is especially important for our youth to understand that it is actually ‘cool’ to take care of yourself, and to direct them to the free resources available within their communities.”

Kaiser Permanente Southern California Educational Theatre was also on hand to lend their entertainment and health educational expertise. The health educator-performers highlighted a few simple skill-building techniques from their production, “It’s Stop Time,” focusing on conflict management for upper elementary students and their families. The interactive presentation taught participants how to use the “Stop, Breathe, Choose” method to resolve conflict and make the right choices under stress.

“As a physician, I know how important it is for patients to be healthy not only in body, but also in mind,” says Ramin Davidoff, M.D., area medical director, Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park. “Unfortunately, many patients are reluctant to ask for help because of the stigma associated with mental illness. That’s why events like this are so important to help raise awareness on the need to speak up early so they can get assistance.”

The event also featured a variety of informational booths focusing on mental health services and advocacy including NAMI, Pacific Clinics, LA County Department of Mental Health, Each Mind Matters, five acres, SPIRITT Family Services, and Foothill Family Services.

Other speakers included Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, co-chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus; and LA Laker Metta World Peace who discussed his journey and struggle with mental health.

Educational Theatre, one of KP’s Community Benefit programs, is celebrating 30 years of serving our communities through performance-based programs that inspire children, teens, and adults to make informed health decisions. In addition to conflict management, Educational Theatre also addresses four other determinants that impact good health: bullying, literacy, STD prevention, and healthy eating/active living.

Since 1986, they have reached more than 6.7 million people with over 25,000 performances and workshops.