History & Vision

Since 1993, SHARE! the Self-Help And Recovery Exchange has served people though self-help support groups and communities that provide recovery and social support. As people develop skills to cope with substance use, trauma, mental health disorders and dysfunctional relationships, people learn to better their own lives, get jobs, reconnect with family and friends and reintegrate into the community. SHARE!’s programs–SHARE! Collaborative Housing, SHARE! self-help centers in Culver City and Downtown, the SHARE! Recovery Retreat and SHARE! Volunteer-to-Job internships–are designed to support self-sufficiency through social support and community integration. This innovative approach was honored with the Los Angeles County Mental Health Commission Outstanding Program Award in 2013.

The mission of SHARE! is to help people in Los Angeles pursue personal growth and change. SHARE! empowers people to change their own lives and provides them a loving, safe, non-judgmental place where they can find community, information and support.

The idea for SHARE! grew out of the frustrations people attending self-help support groups faced, repeatedly encountering operational problems that interfered with the healing process. Under the auspices of Emotional Health Association, a California 501(c)(3) corporation, a group of meeting-goers formed a board and working committees. SHARE! officially opened its doors at an abandoned warehouse with a leaky roof in Venice, CA in 1993.

In 1994, SHARE! became the Los Angeles County self-help clearinghouse—keeping track of all the self-help support groups in Los Angeles and making referrals to them.

SHARE! continued to grow, adding more self-help support groups each year. In March 2005, SHARE! became the first ever peer-run contractor with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

That same year, a homeless volunteer at SHARE! complained that she could not get housing because she did not have a drug or alcohol problem. SHARE! began problem-solving. Inspired by the technique in the movie Apollo 13, an informed group of people affected by the issue of homelessness and mental health, challenged themselves to design a program, using only existing resources, with the capacity to house 20,000 mental health consumers over the next five years.

The outcome of these efforts—SHARE! Collaborative Housing–is a public-private solution to housing for people with disabilities that uses evidence-based, peer-to-peer practices and self-help support groups to build support, resilience and independence at a fraction of the cost of other housing programs.

Since its inception in 2005, SHARE! Collaborative Housing has housed more than 5,000 mental health consumers in Los Angeles with resources yet to reach $1 million. (To put this in perspective, the Mental Health Service Act (MHSA) Housing Trust Fund has housed 5,000 statewide since its inception for a price tag in the hundred millions.)

In April 2009 SHARE! opened SHARE! Downtown, its second self-help center on Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles.

The SHARE! Recovery Retreat began serving mental health consumers and their families in 2013. This two-week program helps people discover what they can and want to do with their lives.

SHARE! continues to catch those falling through the cracks, accepts everyone who comes through its doors and has never turned away or asked anyone to leave.

SHARE! looks forward to continuing to innovate and grow!

Want More Information?
Call 1-877-SHARE-49 or write info@shareselfhelp.org