Mission

The mission of the Coalition of Mental Health Professionals is to serve and empower residents of Los Angeles County through the development of various programs that provide mental health and related services to enhance the well being of the community and improve its quality of life.

History

Dr. Sandra Cox is a visionary and innovator who cares about her community, and was one of the first psychotherapists to establish a mental wellness clinic in south Los Angeles after the civil unrest of 1992.

Residents in the south Los Angeles area were experiencing a lot of fear and anger after the civil unrest, said Dr. Cox, who established the Coalition of Mental Health Professionals with co-founder Nancy Jefferson, LCSW. We knew that residents in South Los Angeles were in need of counseling because the widespread devastation had greatly impacted people’s lives.

The former school psychologist and marriage and family therapist said that it is her agency’s mission to dispel the myths surrounding mental illness. “Mental illness is not only a stigma in the African American community, but a stigma among other ethnic groups worldwide,” said Dr. Cox. “Our staff tries to attend every health fair in the community to distribute information about not only mental illness, but other free services that we offer at CMHP, as well.”

Dr. Cox and her outreach team frequently visit churches and attend community events to disseminate information about the services available at CMHP. “We have brochures printed from the National Institute on Mental Health on bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and substance abuse that we distribute to community residents,” she said.

The Coalition also provides an array of other services through its FamilySource Southeast II Center, which offers free ESL classes as well as parenting, computer literacy, money management, and tutoring assistance. Other free services offered at CMHP include volunteers in tax assistance (VITA), tax preparation, utility bill & legal assistance, Summer Day Camp, tutoring, referrals for assistance, youth recreational activities, food, clothing and transportation referrals as well as referrals for employment, housing and child care.

Dr. Cox said, wearing the hat of executive director is rewarding but added there are still challenges that the Coalition faces. “Keeping the agency financially solvent and economically sound is always challenging,” she said. “I want the agency to grow and develop an income stream that is not dependent on soft money.” Pausing, she added, “We want the Coalition of Mental Health Professionals to stay viable in the community. I feel it is important to lead and stay in the community among the people because the services are needed.”

Despite the challenges, Dr. Cox says she is committed to the community she serves. “I enjoy making a difference and being a change agent in the community,” she reflected. “Providing quality mental health services is our reason for being.”