Metta World Peace to speak at free mental health event in El Monte

Metta World Peace will speak at a mental health event on May 21 in El Monte, Wednesday, April 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Metta World Peace will speak at a mental health event on May 21 in El Monte, Wednesday, April 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Fans will have a chance to meet and hear Metta World Peace speak, and the issues will prove far more important than his stint with the Lakers that included a significant role in winning the 2010 NBA Finals.

World Peace plans to speak about mental health issues at an event open to the public for free at El Monte airport on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.

“I’m very happy to participate in this mental health awareness event, because events like this one help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health,” World Peace said in a statement. “It is vital that we educate our communities and let people know there is nothing wrong with seeking out help when you need it. It is especially important for our youth to understand that it is actually ‘cool’ to take care of yourself, and to direct them to the free resources available within their communities.”

Those resources seem plenty.

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, co-chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, will outline the importance in raising awareness around the stigma associated with mental health issues. Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Department will host It’s Stop Time,” an interactive theatrical production that will focus on conflict management for upper elementary students and their families. NAMI, Pacific Clinics and the LA County Department of Mental Health are among the organizations that will have information booths on mental health services. Sunburst Youth Academy Foundation is also sponsoring the event.

World Peace will be the headliner both because of his multiple stints with the Lakers (2009-13, 2015-present) and journey surrounding mental health issues.

He dealt with mental health issues stemmed from alcohol abuse, anger abuse and an unstable household. The former Ron Artest also drew an 86-game suspension for his role in the Palace Brawl in 2004. He has since cemented a stronger reputation based on his work with mental health advocacy.

In 2007, World Peace founded Xcel University, which raises funds for those same causes. He publicly thanked his psychologist following the 2010 NBA Finals and later auctioned off his championship ring to help various mental health charities. He has routinely visited Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA to speak to adults and children that suffer from mental health disorders. For those efforts, World Peace won the 2010-11 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.

People can RSVP to World Peace’s open and free event here.


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