Rick Heller holds a Masters degree in anthropology. His research interests in the field include ethnomusicology and transcultural psychiatry. He was a pioneer, working as a peer counselor in a psychiatric day treatment facility, long before peer counseling was common. He also served on the San Diego County Mental Health Board. He has worked as a freelance writer, penning articles about mental health, as well as music. In addition, he has done research for documentary films.
At HSRC he does various tasks as assigned for the County Mental Health contract, including attending the state mandated Quality Review Council, the Cultural Competency Resource Team and the Behavioral Health Advisory Board meetings. Work for the contract with the Suicide Prevention Council is included in his duties. He identifies relevant articles for people working on opioid abuse, suicide prevention, as well as current trends in treatment. He has worked at HSRC since 2007.