by Eliza Schafler
Eliza Schafler is an MHAS Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP.


Naomi Sultan, our incoming 2015 Skadden Fellow at MHAS.

Naomi Sultan, our incoming 2015 Skadden Fellow at MHAS.

More good news to report: The model of behavioral health-legal partnership is expanding! Here’s how:

The Skadden Fellowship is among the most prestigious public interest legal fellowships in the nation. It annually selects fewer than 30 recent law graduates to work in areas of utmost importance to the public interest community. This year, Skadden has advanced our cause of improving mental health outcomes through legal intervention by sponsoring not one, but two new fellows to start brand new behavioral health-legal partnerships.

The first fellow is our very own incoming Skadden fellow at MHAS: Naomi Sultan. Naomi will be expanding our BeHeLP project at MHAS to serve homeless veterans. For this project, MHAS will be partnering with Operation Healthy Homecoming, a program of Mental Health America of Los Angeles. For more details, check out our online announcement here.

The second fellow, Saskia Valencia, will be serving court-involved youth through a medical-legal partnership model at community-based mental health clinics. In other words, she will be starting a behavioral health-legal partnership for at-risk youth with mental health needs. She will be based at Youth Represent in New York City.

With help from Skadden and other stakeholders (such as Greenberg Traurig LLP, which supports our BeHeLP work through an Equal Justice Works fellowship), the handful of behavioral health-legal partnerships in this country is slowly growing. In 2015, we can no longer say that our BeHeLP project is the national’s only medical-legal partnership devoted to children’s mental health. And we couldn’t be happier about it.