Today we’d like to introduce you to David “Eli” Israelian.
It’s an honor to highlight your success on our platform. Do you mind telling us about the things you’ve been able to accomplish?
Nothing I’ve done was accomplished standing alone. I owe it to my strong community of movers and shakers I’ve fostered in my journey to mental health enterprise development. In the darkest hour of hardship I endured as a patient and formerly incarcerated individual, struck a lightning bolt of opportunities in creating wellness solutions through technology. I saw that every issue I experienced was shared by millions of people just like me. The only difference was, the solution hadn’t been created yet. I co-founded a non-profit mental health organization called Painted Brain, serving at-risk youth, underserved communities, and veterans, for over 12 years. It was there that I was able to create the Digital Health Literacy training program with my team that has now been implemented in the California Legislation SB 803 for the peer certification process; allowing for peers to get paid for providing one-on-one support, mentorship, and training services. In early 2019, I launched Peer Mental Health, a social enterprise creating community-based solutions through virtual reality/immersive reality platforms to support the social determinants of health reflecting the 8 dimensions of wellness. And now with my team, we’ve created a unique between-care treatment program using peer-to-peer support called, The Continuum. Both Painted Brain and Peer Mental Health are fast growing organizations, receiving over 300,000 viewership/month across our websites and social media.
Tell us about some of the memories you’ve made on your journey!
One of the most profound memories that haunts me was revisiting a state hospital where I was a patient for a long period of time. The purpose for coming back was to share our good work at Painted Brain and recruit participants for our program after their discharge. I recall masking up and being ushered by the psyche nurse walking down the long gloomy hall, the same hall I was tackled in and given booty shots to force medication compliance. Images of my stay hit me and I told the psyche nurse that I felt as though I was still a patient there reliving my memories and they responded, “Who says you’re not?”. I laughed but that hit too close to home. Then I have the positive memories and several of which were giving talks at high schools, community colleges, and universities, sharing my personal experiences as a way to educate future practitioners and professionals and advocate to normalize discussions around mental illness. So many students would come up to me in tears, saying I’ve opened their eyes and empowered them to move forward in publicly identifying as an individual with lived mental health experience.
Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share with our audience?
Creating a self-sustaining enterprise is similar to creating valued art. The process is inventive and takes thinking without bounds and grounding it between the balance of abstract, concrete, and realism. Like any artist, there’s always a muse. I had several and I’d like to acknowledge and give credit where credit is due. To my dearest friend and partner in co-founding Painted Brain, Rayshell Chambers, thank you for being a true sister and helping me grow my vision across the states and beyond borders, you are loved and appreciated; Diane Cooper, thank you for supporting my vision early on in the development of The Continuum and being a great role model for mental health parent advocates; Reid Cooper, my dear friend and brother who gave me broad perspectives and taught me unpopular philosophies from marginalized leaders to improve my introspective analysis; my mother for loving me throughout my recovery and allowing my independency to shine; and to my deceased father, Larry Wexler, the loss of your life was not in vain, you are memorialized in our work.
Finally, how can people connect with you and learn more about what you do?
If you’re interested in starting a conversation on how Peer Mental Health can work with your community in improving access to care and resources, please reach out to us by email to email@example.com and one of our peer representatives will respond back to you shortly. If you’re inquiring for the purposes of press, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about our organization and The Continuum, please visit https://www.peermentalhealth.com.