Our Stories

20 Years After L.A. Riots a Success Story Keeps Growing

The Coalition of Mental Health Professionals formed in the wake of the Los Angeles riots to provide desperately needed mental health and related services and enhance the well being of the South Central community.

“Residents in the south Los Angeles area were experiencing a lot of fear and anger after the civil unrest,” said Dr. Sandra Cox, who co-founded the group. “We knew that residents in South Los Angeles were in need counseling because the widespread devastation had greatly impacted people’s lives.”

Twenty years later, it's a success story that keeps getting stronger. And it's an example of how Public Counsel's legal support for community-based nonprofits and small businesses spreads hope across Los Angeles.

"Without the help of Public Counsel, we would have been out of business years ago," said Dr. Cox.

The Coalition got connected to Public Counsel by Karen Bass, then the Executive Director of Community Coalition and now a member of Congress. A training program for small nonprofits to help strengthen their organizations led to a 15-year connection that has grown alongside the Coalition.

The Coalition of Mental Health Professionals provides services in a multiethnic, multi-lingual community, using professionals who represent the communities they serve. The organization offers individual, group and family therapy, psychological assessments, parenting classes, domestic violence and anger management classes and critical incident stress debriefing. AIDS information, awareness, prevention and counseling as well as referral services are available from nationally certified AIDS counselors

Public Counsel has assisted the Coalition of Mental Health Professionals with a range of legal issues including bylaws, incorporation, federal and state tax law, labor law, employee manuals, dealing with governmental entities, contracts, non payment by governmental departments, creation of contracts with subcontractors and review of new contracts.  

The Coalition honored Public Counsel at its 20th-anniversary event on June 24, 2012.

"We are thrilled to partner with the Coalition as it continues to build opportunities for health and hope in Southeast Los Angeles," said Shashi Hanuman, Public Counsel's director of community development. "Like so many groups, the Coalition has a vision for a better community, and it is achieving it every day."

Click here to visit the Coalition of Mental health Professionals' website.