Dr. Robert Paul Liberman is joining the board of Step Up on Second, a Santa Monica-based nonprofit psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery center for individuals suffering from severe and persistent mental illness.

Lieberman holds the position of distinguished professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and is director of the UCLA Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program and he has a long history with Step Up on Second, having encouraged the founding director to establish the center, board members note.

“It is my hope that I can persuade the organization, with the board’s support, to further improve the programming at Step Up by implementing skills training services that go beyond the supportive, encouraging nature of the facility,” Liberman said. “Skills training can empower members by teaching them the skills that will enable them to participate more fully in the natural community rather than in the sheltered, segregated (and therefore somewhat stigmatizing) Step Up ‘community’. My participation on the board will depend on my success in moving Step Up in this third direction.”

Founded in 1984, Step Up on Second serves over 1,200 mentally ill individuals annually and provides 34 permanent housing units on-site. The center helps participants improve their ability to self-manage their illnesses, build and grow friendships and other intimate relationships, manage substance abuse issues, and provide recreation for leisure.

“Dr. Liberman is a giant in the field and we are honored to have him join our board,” Step Up on Second development director Carolyn Baker said. “His work and focus on evidenced-based practices will be an asset to our organization.”

Liberman will join fellow Step Up board members Ken Anderson, Sandra DeSilva, Roni Fischer, Roberta Howard, Bruce Rognlien, Eric Berkowitz, Benjamin Dickey, Phil Glosserman, Les Jones, Jacob Ramsey, Joseph Cahn, Wendy Elgin-Silva, Richard Hallock, Larry M. Kruger, Stephen Solaka, and Lt. Doug Theus.