Kerry Morrison of Heart Forward LA has a heart for the people who are in need of “whole person care.” I’ve been hearing about Kerry Morrison’s work in Hollywood for a few years now. I’m continually inspired to share her resources with anyone who’ll listen. But this GiveAShit video below feels like a perfect way to introduce friends, family, and those with a heart for Hollywood to take the first step towards participating in solutions that put people first.
Watch this quick video:
Kerry Morrison, Founder of Heart Forward LA, “Hello friends — feeling so very privileged to share this little mini-doc with you about Heart Forward — how we are inspired by Trieste and how we can find ways to bring the radical hospitality we’ve seen practiced there (so effortlessly) into an American context. I am in awe of the team that produced this — and the director, Colleen Lindl — who captured the essence of what has moved me about Trieste in five min!”
I found the lead video above on Kerry’s LinkedIn on the daily scroll. It was created by Daily Planet Productions and their Give A Shit initiative, “With Great Talent Comes Great
Responsibility.” The work that Daily Planet is doing to boost the signal of Heart Forward is what I LOVE about Hollywood and the artistic community across the entire country – tons of talented people and organizations care about getting the word out in articles, podcasts, video media, and any medium in which we create and consume.
Scott Marvel, President – Daily Planet Ltd, Founder – Give A Shi*t: “…This episode was directed by Colleen Lindl who employed all the soft skills, empathy, and feels to help Kerry weave her story and to shine a light on the incredibly necessary work she is doing everyday.“
- Featured: Kerry Morrison
- Director: Colleen Lindl
- DP: Matthew Meschede
- Sound: Caleb Joel Zlomke
- Sound Mix: Matthew Hane
- Production Assistant: Hayden Murphy
Morrison: “After 22 years managing the BID in Hollywood, I stepped away in early 2019 to pursue a passion that was kindled during the two years I was privileged to take advantage of a Stanton Fellowship provided by the Durfee Foundation. I am now “all in” to pursue what I learned about a “new way forward” with respect to how people with mental illness in our society can be treated, integrated into community and pursue a whole life. My eyes were opened after visiting the mental health system in Trieste Italy for the first time in July 2017, and I have visited their system five times. I have a huge heart for the severely mentally ill who are left to languish on our streets.”
Kerry Morrison has been campaigning for change to anyone who’ll listen. And they are expanding to connect volunteers with residents in 10 communities in Hollywood. Their initiative expansion is informed by their “Kinship Afternoons” project from 2020. They have a ton of ways you can connect by volunteering, donating, or serving in other capacities (If you are interested in volunteering to help with the Radical Hospitality Initiative, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org). A GREAT way to start today is to follow @HeartForwardLA on Instagram and subscribing to their podcast.
Now that you have some background on what organizations are doing to combat the problem of social recovery and system accountability in the current American system, below is a powerhouse podcast to add to your rotation.
Podcast Description: The American mental health system is broken beyond repair. Rather than trying to tweak a system which fails everyone, it is time to commit to a bold vision for a better way forward. This podcast explores the American system against the plumb line of an international best practice, recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), in Trieste, Italy. The 40-year old Trieste model demonstrates how a community-based treatment system upholds the human rights of the people served.The Trieste story is anti-institutional and models the therapeutic value of social connection. Topics will address contemporary challenges in the American failed mental health system as contrasted with the Italian approach toward accoglienza – or radical hospitality – as the underpinning of their remarkable culture of caring for people. Interviews will touch upon how the guiding principles of the Italian system – social recovery, whole person care, system accountability, and the human right to a purposeful life – are non-negotiable aspects if we are to have any hope of forging a new way forward in our American mental health system.
- This podcast is curated and hosted by Kerry Morrison, founder and project director of Heart Forward LA (https://www.heartforwardla.org/)
- Heart Forward is collaborating with Peer Mental Health as the technical partner in producing this podcast (https://www.peermentalhealth.com/about/)
- Kerry Morrison is also the author of the blog www.accoglienza.us
Featured Podcast Episode Description: “Anthony Ruffin is a gifted and compassionate crisis worker who relentlessly seeks to establish trust with the most vulnerable people living on the streets. His career spans working with both nonprofit organizations and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. He gives homage to a mentor who many were privileged to know during her amazing and courageous life of caring and service, Mollie Lowery of Housing Works.
In this interview, we are going to gain vicarious insight into Anthony’s approach and see the realities of this human crisis through his eyes. Anthony has visited Trieste twice and he will compare and contrast how people with mental illness are cared for in that community in comparison with the U.S.“
Articles that have shined a light on Anthony’s compassionate approach:
- A true L.A. hero: For people dying on L.A. streets, he offers help, and he won’t take no for an answer – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)
- The Fight to House Hollywood’s Sickest Homeless – The Atlantic
- ‘It’s almost like a death watch’: Severely ill homeless people are at risk of dying on the streets of Hollywood – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)
- Homelessness: A walk along Skid Row in L.A.—block by bleak block (calmatters.org)
- Should California expand what it means to be ‘gravely disabled’? – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)