Burbank’s Family Service Agency Dedicates the Michael & Anthony Portantino Suicide Prevention Library & Resource Center

Wednesday, December 7 2022

For Immediate Release: December 7, 2022

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400


Burbank’s Family Service Agency Dedicates the Michael & Anthony Portantino Suicide Prevention Library & Resource Center

Burbank, CA - Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) was honored to attend the dedication ceremony for the “Michael and Anthony Portantino Suicide Prevention Library and Resource Center” at the Family Service Agency (FSA) in Burbank. The dedication took place to honor the work, life, and legacy of Michael G. Portantino, the late brother of Senator Anthony Portantino and the Senator for his long record of supporting mental health services and suicide prevention. Michael Portantino was a long-time civil rights and LGBTQ+ rights champion who suffered from depression and behavioral health issues as he got older, ultimately died by suicide.  Senator 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,” stated Senator Portantino.  “As someone who grew up in the 1970’s 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.  FSA does critical, lifesaving work and their services are much needed in the Burbank community and beyond.  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.”

Family Service Agency of Burbank is a 501(C)3 non-profit 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.

“The Anthony & Michael Portantino Suicide CARE Center & Prevention Library at FSA is a space dedicated to the lives and work of two extraordinary leaders within their communities - brothers who built understanding and have inspired compassion,” stated Laurie Bleick, Burbank FSA Executive Director.  “Michael Portantino was a courageous, kind, visionary leader in his community who, at a dark time in his life, died of suicide.  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.”

Senator Portantino has a strong record of advocating for mental health policies during his time in public office.  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 content and 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, Senator 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 (CBHA) honored the Senator as a Behavioral Health Champion.