Personal Stories

Experiencing a mental illness can often feel like a lonely experience, however, one in four adult San Diegans have a mental health challenge. This means that many others share similar struggles, feelings and questions. Hardships such as abuse, stigma and discrimination, homelessness, or traumatic memories can be difficult, but life can get better. Connecting with the right people, finding inner strength and tapping into local programs can make all the difference. There are people who care, who can relate and who want to help others get on the road to recovery. Watch these personal story movies created by San Diegans to inspire, offer hope and challenge stereotypes

Kimberly's Story: There is More to Live For

“If you’re suffering, regardless of what you are thinking in this moment, you have more to live for.” VIEW

Joe's Story: A Different Battle

“Physically I was home. Mentally, though, I never left Iraq.” VIEW

Craig's Story: Dropping the Facade

“Almost as far back as I can remember I had become a master at shutting off emotions I didn’t like.” VIEW

Amanda's Story: Moving Forward with Life

"I was starting to lose hope for life- it was a struggle to live. And all of a sudden the thought of suicide became an answer for me.” VIEW

Annabelle's Story: Healing

"Suicide impacts so many more people than the one that died… As a community we need to understand mental illness and suicide. Survivors of suicide need to be able to grieve as openly as others." VIEW

Jennifer's Story: You Are Not Alone

"I asked him to get help, but he was afraid of the stigma of seeking counseling. He was afraid of losing his job. At that time it was not encouraged or accepted to go to counseling in the military." VIEW

Angie's Story: Brand New Day

"I accepted the illness because I knew I was not just a schizophrenic, but a creative caring person. My mother and family were my backbone and they watched out for me." VIEW

Antonio's Story: Different Strokes for Different Folks

"When I first had symptoms, I was in denial. Thinking back now, it is worse to be in the dark. Once you know what you are dealing with and getting help, you are doing something to get well. I never settled. I believed I could get better." VIEW

Pharoh's Story: Standing Soldier

"I have faced a lot of stigma in my life. It made me feel imprisoned, like my freedom of self-expression had been taken away. Today I have peace from my symptoms and I am filled with hope. My life has truly been restored." VIEW

Elvira's Story: Enlightenment

"I was feeling very down, very depressed... the support from my loving family is the best medication I got." VIEW

Susan's Story: Who Am I?

"In the Asian culture mental illness is taboo. When we are sad, we say we don’t feel well or we have a headache, we don’t say depressed. We don’t want to embarrass or bring shame to our family... Recovery is possible and there is always light at the end of that dark tunnel." VIEW

Jamin's Story: Despite the Odds

"As I reached out for help and support, I found those who truly believed in me – which really made the difference. With help of a treatment center and a lot of hard work I was able to completely recover. Now I don’t take any medications!" VIEW

Michelle's Story: We Can't Rewind

"I am still realizing my dream but also taking care of myself. If you receive a diagnosis of a mental disorder, take it seriously and seek help- because ignoring it can take years of your life." VIEW

La Historia de Mercedes (Spanish with English Subtitles)

"Today’s reality is that mental illness is no reason to be alone or for your family to be stigmatized." VIEW

Bruce's Story: Don't Give Up Hope

"For years the label defined who I was. Now the diagnosis is secondary to who I am as a person. I still have bad days, but they are not quite as dark as before. I can show up for my life and take part in it!" VIEW

If you or someone you care about needs to speak to someone or is in crisis and needs immediate help, please call the Access & Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. Trained and experienced counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you. You don't have to suffer in silence, make the FREE call. If emergency medical care is needed,
call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

Now's the time to read up! With one in four adult San Diegans facing mental health challenges, it’s up to us to make San Diego a supportive community for those experiencing such challenges. Through education and awareness, the "It's Up to Us" bulletin offers mental health related information, resources, ways to get involved and also stay informed.