Eri Nakagami, Ph.D., LCSW, is the clinical director of Embark Behavioral Health West Los Angeles, a leading network of outpatient centers and residential programs offering premier mental health treatment for preteens, teens and young adults. Embark is dedicated to a “big mission of reversing the trends of teen and young adult anxiety, depression and suicide by 2028.” Learn about Eri Nakagami…
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
First job: My first job was waitressing at a Japanese restaurant.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in CA: There’s so much to do here in L.A. and California! I like trying different restaurants, exploring new places and also going back to familiar favorites to play and hang out with my family and friends.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: I love triathlons and completing the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon was my biggest accomplishment because that race dared me mentally, emotionally and physically in ways other triathlons and experiences have not. The way I dealt with the challenges demonstrated many of the values, including courage, persistence, resilience, self-respect, compassion and community.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: I was born and raised in Mexico until I was eight, moved to Japan for two years, and then came to Los Angeles. In every place I lived, I experienced feeling excluded, rejected and bullied because I looked different or couldn’t speak the language well. It wasn’t until later that I realized that I overcame these instances because home was a safe haven where my parents empowered me and I was incredibly fortunate to have had a handful of friends, teachers, other influential adults that encouraged me and validated my worth.
Someone who inspires you and why: My mother inspires me because of her inner strength, sincerity, generosity, empathy and patience.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Go to therapy and fully self-reflect so you can be self-aware and increase your self-knowledge. Don’t stop after therapy…make self-reflection a continual practice.
Favorite quote: My favorite quote is by C. Hoppe. “I hope my achievements in life shall be these – that I will have fought for what was right and fair…that I will have risked for that which mattered…that I will have given help to those who were in need….that I will have left the earth a better place for what I’ve done and who I’ve been.”
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I taught scuba diving in Cancun.
What makes someone fabulous: I think what makes someone fabulous is how they demonstrate their originality, creativity, poise and fearlessness.