Metta World Peace begins new mental health campaign

As part of his ongoing quest to promote mental health awareness, Lakers forward Metta World Peace and the Los Angeles County Department of Health have partnered up in a campaign beginning today that features his likeness on various billboards and posters throughout Los Angeles within the next month.

With the help of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the World Peace billboards, bulletins and posters will appear at MTA shelters, depots, buses and trainers with a message called “Talk it out” with versions in both English and Spanish. The signs will also have contact information for LACDMH’s 24/7 phone line (1-800-854-7771).

“It’s unnecessary stress if you’re holding things in,” World Peace said in a statement. “It can just bring unnecessary stress to your heart and to your mind. When you can release it and talk about it, you feel better – and that’s how it should be with anything.”

World Peace founded Xcel University, Inc. in 2007, which delivers funds to mental health charities. He’s extensively increased his involvement ever since joining the Lakers in 2009. He raised $651,006 by raffling off his 2010 NBA championship ring and earning the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2011. World Peace has testified numerous times before Congress on behalf of the Mental Health in Schools Act, which would raise $200 million in grant funding to 200 schools. Last year, World Peace also earned recognition at the Voice Awards on behalf of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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