For months, Department of Mental Health Director Dr. Lisa Wong has refused to meet with our union regarding critical issues facing frontline mental health professionals. Namely, our union has sought to work collaboratively with the department to address the chronic and severe short-staffing in DMH, and develop comprehensive solutions to recruit and retain mental health professionals.
Dr. Wong’s continued refusal to meet with us comes in the midst of an unprecedented mental health crisis in Los Angeles County, and demonstrates an utter lack of respect for the talented and dedicated DMH professionals manning the frontlines of care delivery.
On Thursday, March 23, SEIU 721 members in the Department of Mental health marched on DMH Headquarters to deliver a clear message to Dr. Wong and the rest of department leadership: Respect Our Members.
As DMH members, we know better than anyone the challenges facing mental health professionals – and we know that chronic short-staffing has pushed far too many of our colleagues to the breaking point, with some even choosing to leave the professional altogether.
Enough is enough. It’s time for Dr. Wong and the leadership of the Department of Mental Health to sit down with our union to develop solutions that meet the crisis at hand.
After our delegation to DMH Headquarters, SEIU 721 President David Green said as much in a letter to Dr. Wong reiterating our invitation to meet and discuss these issues.
Make no mistake: we will continue to fight for the adequate staffing needed to ease workloads for our members and attract the mental health professionals needed to serve our communities.