“Forgive Me My Trespasses” – Peer Profile – Ramona Bridges

Ramona Bridges is a classmate of our founder Don West, Jr. in the Project Return Peer Support Network’s (PRPSN) [www.prpsn.org] Peer Professional Training & Placement Program (PPTP) Fall ’18 Cohort.  Ramona has a beautiful spirit and a compelling story detailing her life’s journey and challenges encountered as a result of being arrested for trespassing as one of thousands of Los Angeles County’s homeless individuals.

In addition to the documentary, shared above, she also has written a book by the same title, “Forgive Me My Trespasses” by: Ramona Bridges.  Her book is available from Amazon.com for $12.99, there is a link below.

The 4 Stages of Mental Health Recovery

Dr. Mark Ragins, MD’s 4 Stages of Recovery

We were introduced to the 4 stages of mental health recovery as proposed by Dr. Mark Ragins, MD through Project Return Peer Support Network, (PRPSN), as a part of their six-week Peer Professional Training & Placement Program, (PPTP).

1 – Hope

2 – Empowerment

3 – Self-Responsibility

4 – A Meaningful Role In Life

#mentalhealthrecovery #recoverymodel #hope #empowerment #selfresponsibility #meaninfulrole #anxiety #stress #ptsd #bipolar #manicdepression #schizophrenia #personalitydisorder #socialanxietydisorder #peersupport #peersupportspecialist #certifiedpeersupportspecialist #CPSP #LPSP

Do you talk to your inner child with self-compassion?

KOTS Food For Thought

1. Do you have an awareness of your old versions of you, what some refer to as the inner child?

2. Is your inner dialogue kind or critical? When dealing with yourself do you employ empathy and compassion? Why or why not?

Empower your own well-being & join us as we #KnockOutTheStigma surrounding #mentalhealth!

#selfcompassion #selflove #selfcare #innerchild #foodforthought #mentalhealthcommunityorganizer #KOTSWisdom #KOTS #mentalillness #mentalhealthstigma #peersupport #peerspecialist #peersupportspecialist #peeradvocatespecialist #mentalhealthpeerspecialist #mentalhealthadvocate #mentalhealthawareness #endstigma

You are not alone – KOTS Peer Profile No. 001 – Tracey Williams

KOTS TV – Peer Profile

September 10, 2018 was World Suicide Prevention Day. #KOTS founder @officialdonwestjr sat down with Tracey Williams, a fellow DBSA Certified Peer Specialist and talked a bit about her finding her voice, and her journey of #hope, and #recovery. Enjoy the conversation and pick up some great tools below from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services and find more resources on there website HERE.

6 Question Suicide Prevention Assessment

6 Question Suicide Prevention Assessment Tool_1

10 Reasons to Visit www.SPRC.org


#DBSA #suicideawareness #suicideprevention #suicide #mentalhealthcommunityorganizer #KnockOutTheStigma #mentalillness #mentalhealthstigma #california #sb906 #peersupport #peerspecialist #peersupportspecialist #peeradvocatespecialist #mentalhealthpeerspecialist #mentalhealthadvocate #mentalhealthawareness #endstigma

California Legislature passes SB 906 creating state Certified Peer Specialists

The California Legislature passed SB 906 creating state Certified Peer Specialists in the state of California.

More info: https://camhpro.org/peer-certification-sb614/

#KnockOutTheStigma surrounding #mentalhealth #mentalhealthcommunityorganizer #KOTSWisdom #KOTS #mentalillness #mentalhealthstigma #california #sb906 #peersupport #peerspecialist #peersupportspecialist #peeradvocatespecialist #mentalhealthpeerspecialist #mentalhealthadvocate #mentalhealthawareness #endstigma

#KOTS411 – African Coalition & LAC Dept of Mental Health host The Black Immigrant Youth Empowerment Event

Ages 18-25

Our partners at the African Communities Public Health Coalition (IG: @african_coalition) and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (IG: @lacdmh) are doing big things to #KnockOutTheStigma surrounding #mentalhealth in the #black and #blackimmigrant communities.

Pass the word…


Black Youth Empowerment Project


Saturday, August 25th
12pm – 3pm


Industry Cafe & Jazz
6039 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

#KOTS #MentalHealth #BlackBoys #BlackMen

KOTS411 – Save the Date #STIGMACON2018 Announced

For immediate release:

✨✨Save the Date✨✨

Knock Out the Stigma, Inc. is pleased to announce a neighborhood collaboration of diverse service organizations to bring you STIGMA-CON 2018 an installment in the new Healthy Neighborhoods Well-Being Campaign Series being spearheaded by Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s West Central Mental Health Center located on Stocker Street in Los Angeles, California serving neighborhoods that include parts of South Central LA.

When: November 14th & 15th

#LosAngeles #STIGMACON2018 #mentalhealthawareness #wellbeing #communityempowerment #buildingbridges #stigma #stigmafree #endstigma #STIGMACON #KnockOutTheStigma around #mentalhealth #KOTS #KOTS411

Are You Being Critical or Compassionate?

We all have traveled a unique path to get us here to this point in time.  When you are looking back on your journey are you doing it with a harsh and critical point of view or are you looking back at the circumstances of your journey with compassion?

Try reflecting on everything that got you here with compassion.

What is self-compassion?  Below is the definition according to author and self-compassion guru Dr. Kristin Neff.

Definition of Self-Compassion:  Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. Think about what the experience of compassion feels like. First, to have compassion for others you must notice that they are suffering. If you ignore that homeless person on the street, you can’t feel compassion for how difficult his or her experience is. Second, compassion involves feeling moved by others’ suffering so that your heart responds to their pain (the word compassion literally means to “suffer with”). When this occurs, you feel warmth, caring, and the desire to help the suffering person in some way. Having compassion also means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly. Finally, when you feel compassion for another (rather than mere pity), it means that you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. “There but for fortune go I.”

Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?

Source:  http://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/

What Is Your Keystone?

The ancient trade of stone masonery is one that demands precision and mastery of one’s craft in order to achieve an acceptable finished product. In many ways this is similar to the formula for success in our daily lives, the more we master our tools and apply them with precision to the circumstances that arise, the more acceptable we find our finished product. Here we have a stone arch which happens to be one of my favorite architectural elements. Stones are cut and fitted in such a way that they can be stacked to hold and support one another. In the design of this archway there is one stone that is absolutely critical to the strength and integrity of the entire structure, this special stone is called the keystone.

Without the keystone in place the arch will not hold its shape. All the other stones will tumble and fall to the ground. In our personal life journeys we each have lots of stones that make up our personal archway. One stone may represent our income from our job(s) or business(es). Another stone may be your intimate relationship. All the elements that make up our life represent one of our stones. However, each one of us has a keystone, that one thing that is critically essential to all the other stones staying in place and performing their proper functions.

If we look at a person who has recovered from an addiction as an example, that person’s keystone would likely be their sobriety. As long as their sobriety is in place all the other areas of their life are able to function. But, if that sobriety is removed it will likely impact a number of stones and perhaps cause the entire arch to crumble. It thus becomes of vital importance that someone with sobriety as their keystone acquire and master the tools necessary to maintain their sobriety in order to maintain all the other stones in their life. The same principle will apply no matter what you ultimately determine your keystone to be.


1) What is your keystone?

2) How many tools have you mastered to help support your keystone?

3) Do you know what you need from your partner, family, and friends to assist with maintaining your keystone?

“She said we can’t even be friends…” Why?

Recently, a friend of mine shared how excited he was that a new lady he fancied had showed him she also had romantic interest in him. He gleefully recounted how amazing everything had been on their first meet-up. He also shared that both of them were engaged in addiction recovery and the she was quite serious about her sobriety. A week went by and they had a second date, but the second report was the polar opposite of the amazing first date story from the week before. My friend shared he was surprised when she told him she was not able to begin a new relationship right now, that he understood, but she continued to tell him she also could not even be friends with him right now due to her needs to focus on herself and her recovery.

This was not what my buddy wanted to hear at all. In our conversation that day, he said, “I bet her sponsor told her that stuff.” The good thing is my friend was able to find peace in the end of his new fling, but still seemed troubled by the “why” of her decision.

All of the sudden one of my favorite lessons from “The Magic Story” came to mind and I told it to my buddy.

Keep your pack light

When making a steep climb or long hike – keep your pack light.

Life shows up. When it does we all at times make choices or encounter situations that knock us off our forward path of progress causing a slide in the opposite direction. Sometimes the slide down can be so far and so dramatic that we say that person has hit rock bottom.

Whether at rock bottom or just way off course, you have traveled a path downward far from your original starting point. You know the path back because you were the one that took the trip to the place you are now. But the way back is up and likely a steep and challenging climb. What advice would you give to someone who is about to embark on a wicked challenging climb? Of all the advice I have heard one of my favorites is, “keep your pack light.”

This simple advice is open to interpretation and is impacted by each person’s determination of what is essential to be placed in their “pack.” As demonstrated in the song “Bag Lady” by Erykah Badhu, she sings, “No one ever told you all you need is you.”

When commencing a recovery climb it becomes more challenging the more you are carrying. I shared this all with my friend and he smiled and nodded his head as he processed what I was saying. His lady friend most likely was at a point in her climb where she needed to keep her pack very light and in her assessment she didn’t even have room or the capacity to “carry” a new friend.

Smiling my friend said, I understand now.

What’s in your pack? Have you done an assessment lately of what you are carrying?