The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) is pleased to announce the success of a reintegration program known as Peer Employment, Education and Recovery Support or PEERS. PEERS has shown tremendous outcomes from graduates in the program with 16 of 20 (80%) graduates retaining permanent employment and many also reuniting with their families.
The PEERS Program gives the previously incarcerated a second chance. Currently, it’s being offered to women who are transitioning back into society by allowing them to work and gain job skills as they learn to become self-sufficient. The program is a paid fellowship.
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Based on the success of the PEERS Fellowship Program for women, similar models are being explored to be offered to men, too.
“Our experience with PEERS proves that, with the right services and community supports, individuals returning from prisons can successfully become full participating members of their communities,” said LACDMH Director, Marvin J. Southard, D.S.W.
In partnership with the Probation Department, part of LACDMH’s response has been to assign mental health clinicians to work on-site at Probation HUBs where those recently released are required to report. To help them transition, LACDMH is adding staff who will assist in connecting them to mental health and substance abuse services.
The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health is the largest county-operated mental health department in the United States, directly operating 75 program sites and more than 100 co-located sites. Each year, it contracts with approximately 1,000 agencies and individual practitioners to provide a spectrum of mental health services to more than 250,000 residents of all ages.
The Department’s mission — enriching lives through partnership to strengthen our community’s capacity to support recovery and resiliency – is accomplished by working with stakeholders and community partners to provide clinically competent, culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate mental health services to clients in the least restrictive manner possible.