Didi Hirsch Raises $465,000 at 19th Annual Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards

For Immediate Release


CULVER CITY, Calif. (April 24, 2015)Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services moved a step closer to erasing the stigma of mental illness last night by honoring several passionate champions of mental health awareness and suicide prevention, including singer/songwriter Mary Lambert, television personality Howie Mandel, NBA New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson, former California Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and his 21-year-old daughter, Jordana Steinberg. Held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the 19th annual Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards drew more than 550 guests and raised more than $400,000 for mental health and substance abuse treatment for people in communities where stigma or poverty limits access.

Comedian Wendy Liebman emceed the event, which launched with a performance by 2015 Mental Health Ambassador Mary Lambert, who sang her hit song, “Secrets.” Blues artist The Reverend Shawn Amos, who is on the Board of Directors of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services and chaired the event, closed the festivities with a performance of original and classic blues

Also recognized throughout the evening were several former and current clients whose lives were transformed after receiving treatment at Didi Hirsch.  Clients highlighted in short videos played during the event include the formerly homeless David Mills, who is regaining his independence since Culver City bus driver Adrian “Red” Roberts brought him to the agency to get help; Tiffany Baker, who regained custody of her  children after undergoing treatment at our residential center for mothers and young children and now works there; Ester Ybarra Bryant, who became an advocate and volunteer at our Suicide Prevention Center following the suicide of her 13-year-old son; and the Thompson family, who benefitted from counseling designed for military families after Army National Guardsman Stephen Thompson returned home from Iraq.

"How inspiring to see three generations of people coming together to support one another, share each other’s stories, and show the world we are the same,” says event chair Shawn Amos. “It's impossible for stigma to survive when people so bravely and honestly claim their dignity and determination. I see a day when people will stop talking about 'having' mental illness and   instead celebrate how they are merely 'living' with mental illness."

About Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

With more than 70 years of experience, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services transforms lives by providing quality mental health and substance abuse treatment in communities where stigma or poverty limits access. From 11 locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties and about 100 schools, Didi Hirsch helps more than 90,000 children, families and adults each year. 

Founded in 1958, Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Center helps people at risk of suicide, concerned loved ones and those who have lost someone to suicide. The first in the nation to establish a 24-hour hotline, the Suicide Prevention Center’s crisis counselors answered more than 62,000 calls, chats and texts in 2014.  The Center offers support groups for people who have attempted suicide or are grieving a suicidal loss. It is one of five in the nation taking calls for the national Disaster Distress Helpline. Learn more at www.didihirsch.org.