Didi Hirsch Benefit Raises $620,000

More than $620,000 was raised at an event on April 27 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a nonprofit that is a leading provider of community mental health and substance use services in Los Angeles County.

Palisadian Laura Ornest served as the event chairperson and fellow resident Melissa Rivers was the emcee. Last year, Rivers, whose father committed suicide, was honored with the Beatrice Stern Media Award, which was given for her passionate efforts to raise awareness about suicide and mental illness.

This year singer Judy Collins, whose son Clark died by suicide in 1992, and who also struggled with substance abuse and mental illness, received the Stern Award.“I have written extensively about the secrets of my family, the alcoholism and about my life as a survivor, what I’ve done to get through it and get over it, and I like to share that with people.”

At the Didi Hirsch benefit were (left to right) actor George Segal, event chair Laura Ornest, Didi Hirsch Mental Health President/CEO Dr. Kita S. Curry and 2017 honorees Anna Akana and Paul Dalio.

At the Didi Hirsch benefit were (left to right) actor George Segal, event chair Laura Ornest, Didi Hirsch Mental Health President/CEO Dr. Kita S. Curry and 2017 honorees Anna Akana and Paul Dalio.

The Leadership Award was given to writer/director/composer Paul Dalio, whose film debut, “Touched with Fire,” inspired by his own experience, explores the relationship between mental illness and creativity in a story of two young poets who fall in love while hospitalized with bipolar disorder.

The Mental Health Ambassador Award went to Anna Akana, who used her popular YouTube channel to promote awareness about mental illness and suicide. Her 13-year-old sister committed suicide in 2007.

For more than 75 years, the Hirsch Foundation has been dedicated to serving communities where stigma and poverty limit access. The group helps 100,000 children and adults each year. It has therapists at 11 locations and 100 schools throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties and is home to the Suicide Prevention Center. The organization helps people contemplating suicide, concerned loved ones and those who have attempted suicide or are grieving over a loss.

Visit didihirsch.org or call the suicide prevention lifeline (800) 273-8255 (24 hours a day, seven days a week).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *