Peer Self-Advocacy (PSA)
In the Peer Self-Advocacy program (PSA), people with mental health disabilities share experiences. They help their peers speak up, make decisions, help each other and live the lives they choose. We reach out to the community. We hold self-advocacy groups and trainings where people live and in the community. The PSA knows change can and does happen.
California Memorial Project
We help fight the mental health stigma and discrimination we experience as peers by remembering those who came before us. Our California Memorial Project holds annual Remembrance Day ceremonies on the third Monday of September. These ceremonies honor people with mental health and developmental disabilities who lived and died in state institutions without the acknowledgement and respect they deserved. We also place memorial monuments throughout the state on hospital grounds or local cemeteries where people from these institutions were buried. Our plans include restoring these cemeteries, collecting personal stories from people who lived in institutions and creating a video about the project and the history of the peer movement. California Memorial Project website.
At the Deaf Community Services Clubhouse self-advocacy group, PSA staff teaches group members about their right to be free from discrimination and receive services in a language they understand. In response to a group member’s frustrating experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the PSA group advocated to have DMV staff attend their meeting to voice their concerns, educate them about deaf culture and learn more about services for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Sixty peers and community members attended a Peer Self-Advocacy workshop at the Annual NAMI California Conference held in Newport Beach on August 25, 2017. The topic of discussion: Stigma, self-disclosure and mental health in the LGBTQ+ community. Facilitated by PSA staff, the workshop focused on the similarities and differences of self-disclosing a mental health disability and "coming out" as part of the LGBTQ+ community.