Spring 2024 Presidential Column
Peyman Raoofi, Psy.D.

As I sit down to write this year’s spring column article, I reflect on the messages I would like to convey for the coming year as president of LACPA.
In recent years, mental health has gained increased recognition as a pivotal component of overall well-being. This recognition is echoed in the 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aspires to achieve good health and well-being for all. The Agenda is grounded in international human rights standards and represents a human rights-based model of disability. It is imperative that every individual has an equal opportunity to live well and experience good mental health, and it is unjust for certain segments of society to be at a higher risk of developing mental health problems. Considerable strides have been made in recent years to address this issue. The collaborative efforts of researchers, policymakers, and the general public, coupled with the introduction of equality and human rights-based legislation, have propelled us forward in creating a more tolerant, accepting, and egalitarian society.

Still, there is much work to be done.

Los Angeles County is home to 10 million people, almost 1 million of whom are students, and over 2 million of whom are above the age of 60. In addition, 14% of our County population lives below the poverty level, with over 75,000 of our community members experiencing homelessness. Los Angeles is also home to one of the largest LGBTQ+ communities in the United States. A variety of over 200 languages are spoken and over 4 million immigrants reside here.

Our LACPA mission statement of diversity and inclusion is not merely rhetoric, but a value that is embedded into every program and service we provide as psychologists. It is the fabric of our community and what makes us strong. In the past year, we have held processing groups for a number of demographics pertaining to cultural, social, and political issues that pertain to our various identities. When the world is in a tumultuous state, and when the larger globe is suffering, this pain is felt at the individual level as well. Here at LACPA, we are strong because we acknowledge how what humans face as a collective will always translate to the particular level.

I am very excited to announce that the keynote speaker at the LACPA 2024 Convention will be Derald Wing Sue, Ph.D., one of the most prominent voices in cross cultural studies. With over 150 publications, he is one of the most-cited multicultural scholars today. The topic will be Racism in Counseling and Psychotherapy: Illuminate and Disarm. I invite you all to join us at the 36th Annual Convention to advance our comprehension of mental health through scientific exploration, collaborative initiatives, and shared insights.