Compassion and empathy.
These are perhaps the two most essential attributes of folks working in the mental health and substance use disorder field. For a lesson in either (or both), spend time with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Community Health Worker Paula Woodworth.
Paula is part of the County’s street team, providing psychiatric, counseling and support services to thousands of people struggling with mental illness, substance use disorders or homelessness. Often, the people she helps are dealing with all three.
Paula has been working for the county for five years. Once homeless herself, with untreated mental illness and substance use disorders, Paula is able to share her own story to provide hope to those she meets. The team offers help finding recovery, housing, medical and other support. Paula says the key to her role is helping people find a sense of purpose and belonging.
We salute Paula for her dedication, compassion and empathy.