PEERS commemorates the life and work of a pioneer in the Bay Area mental health and peer community

Jay at the POCC 50 Year History TAY Event in 2017. (Photo from PEERS archive)

By PEERS Staff

It is with great sadness that we share the news that long time mental health advocate Jay Mahler passed away last week. For the past 50 years, Jay worked tirelessly to improve mental health services as well as reduce the stigma that those with mental health challenges face. His work was pivotal to the peer movement and, by extension, the creation of PEERS. We are thankful to him for his advocacy and friendship over the years.

Our work is not done and we will carry on in his memory.

To close out, we have messages from PEERS staff members that had the chance to work and know Jay.

The loss of Jay Mahler is felt by many. May the memories of his wonderful personality and many contributions be celebrated by all. 

-Lisa Ching  

Jay Mahler’s spirit lives on in every single person he inspired.  His loss is felt as a shockwave.  

My sincerest condolences to the family. 

-Nancy Lee

Thank you Jay Mahler for being a positive influence and an advocate in the mental health community. May he and his contributions continue to be appreciated.  

-Katie DeYoung

When I first saw Jay Mahler as a presenter at BestNow, he modelled a way of being genuine and without protecting himself. When later he greeted me at PEERS office, I felt seen on a human level, as a person, not as an assistant employee. 

Blessed are all of us who knew him. To Susan and all the people who were close to Jay – my sincere condolences. We will continue his legacy and his work because he showed us how it’s done. 

-Vilma Sakalauskaite

Jay Mahler was an extraordinary man. He went through so much in his life, and he accomplished so much. Personally, I did not know him that well. But I was always watching him, and the things he did. He inspired me a great deal. His work is part of the reason I do what I do.

-Heather Riemer