Man, it’s been a longtime, sitting-down, too-much-thinking-around kind of year! LELA was born sometime around September of 2016, but I’m not sure we were serious. We kept ho-humming: Does there really need to be a peer professional association in L.A. County? Isn’t somebody else doing this?
As a brand-new group, what can LELA offer? We began as a loose group of graduates of Project Return’s Peer Professional Training in Commerce in 2016. We’ve had years of first-hand experience with psychiatrists, psychologists, case managers and our peers. We’ve been in ERs, emergency rooms, hospitals and board & cares. Many of us have been homeless, or lived on less than $900 per month, and we’re the lucky ones. Some of us have lost our families, our credit ratings, our jobs, our cars and most of our earlier friends.
We’ve been recovering, together. We want to do something in our corner of the county, from two chairs in a pretty place. We pledge to scoot over so that peer professionals can sit and talk about your own journeys.
- We are passionate about helping people with lived experience go to work in the mental health system or anywhere else. We want to open up the spaces for you to work joyfully in all your various organizations. We want to build bridges and ferries to every island that asks.
- We want to talk about the fact that mental health is every bit as important as dental work and a gym membership for every person in the county.
- We want to join with all the other unique and independent peer-led organizations throughout the county to reach political leaders about the humanity of mental health.
In upcoming letters, we’ll introduce some of our peer friends here at LELA. We hope you will find a little relief, a lot of laughter and some connections to the the peer advocates and organizations around Los Angeles. And if you are in a dark place, we want to bring you the hope and the joy and the caring that we are finding with each other.