HomeCity NewsFamily Service Agency Names Facility After Portantino Brothers

Family Service Agency Names Facility After Portantino Brothers

First published in the Dec. 10 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Family Service Agency recently held a dedication ceremony for the “Michael and Anthony Portantino Suicide Prevention Library and Resource Center” in Burbank, with state Sen. Anthony Portantino in attendance.
The event honored the work, life and legacy of Michael Portantino, the senator’s brother, as well as Sen. Portantino’s long record of supporting mental health services and suicide prevention.
Michael Portantino was a longtime civil rights and LGBTQ+ rights champion who suffered from depression and behavioral health issues as he got older, who ultimately died by suicide. Sen. Portantino has often credited his brother’s life’s work and legacy as the inspiration for his ardent support of LGBTQ+ community and positive behavioral health policies.
“I am honored and grateful to FSA for this very special dedication,” said Sen. Portantino. “As someone who grew up in the 1970s with a gay older brother and witnessed firsthand discrimination and hate, this dedication in his memory is very personal and meaningful for me and my family.

State Sen. Anthony Portantino visits the Family Service Agency facility that was named after him and his brother, Michael Portantino.

“FSA does critical, lifesaving work and their services are much needed in the Burbank community and beyond,” he continued. “At a time when as many as 3 out of 5 teenagers contemplate suicide, we must continue to destigmatize behavioral health and work collectively for the benefit of all our young people.”
The senator previously authored SB 972, which required schools to print the suicide hotline on student identification cards. He has authored legislation to require that health education courses in middle and high school include mental health, as well as legislation that ensures youth absences for mental health issues be treated the same as an excused absences for other health issues.
For his work, Sen. Portantino has received numerous awards, including being recognized by Family Services Agency and Sycamores in Pasadena. Last year, the California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies honored the senator as a Behavioral Health Champion.
Family Service Agency of Burbank is a nonprofit social service agency dedicated to providing quality mental health care for all and eliminating domestic violence, suicide, and all other forms of interpersonal violence, as well as preventing homelessness and serving our respected veterans and their families. FSA provides critical life-changing, and often lifesaving, counseling and preventive services at the Burbank location, on 18 Burbank school campuses and in three residential treatment facilities.
Among those proud of the “Michael and Anthony Portantino Suicide Prevention Library and Resource Center” at FSA was the organization’s executive director Laurie Bleick, who said: “This sacred space speaks to our existing mental health crisis and is inspiring difficult conversations and informed dialogue that is increasing our understanding, compassion, and hopefully resources to care for our most fragile youth, teens, adults and families.”

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