As Chief of the Division of Empowerment and Advocacy for Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Mr. Vega directs a spectrum of projects interfacing with consumers, providers, family members and mental health administrators throughout Los Angeles county to advance transformation of mental health programs into culturally relevant services and supports in which consumers and family members play a central role. Mr. Vega is a recovering consumer and suicide-attempt survivor whose mental health leadership, program and project activities range from the local to national level in advocacy, rights protection, suicide prevention, residential care, self-help, Olmstead planning, consumer employment in mental health systems and peer support programming. In June 2007 he was named by Governor Schwarzenegger to California's Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission. He sits on the Advisory Council to the National Alternatives conference and the Steering Committee of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, through which he has been at the forefront of activities to bring the voice of suicide attempters and consumers in to suicide prevention policy at national and state levels.
Formerly Associate Director and Director of Education at Project Return: The Next Step in Los Angeles, one of the nation's largest consumer-run peer support programs, Mr. Vega is also former staff to the SAMHSA-funded National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse and a project partner with the UPenn Collaborative on Community Integration of People with Psychiatric Disabilities. He earned an M.A. in Psychology from New School for Social Research, is an avid martial arts and meditation practitioner. He is also currently in training to be a good father under the direction of his first child, Tsutomu Luis.