Personal Stories

Mental health challenges are common, but fortunately, so is recovery. Connecting with the right people, finding inner strength and tapping into local programs can make an impact. Research also shows that when everyday people in your community open up about their mental health challenges and their recovery, attitudes change and stigma is reduced. Watch these personal stories of real San Diegans, get inspired and share them with others. Talking openly about mental illness isn’t always easy, but it can make all the difference.

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

  • 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!”

  • 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.”

  • Elvira’s Story: Enlightenment

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

  • 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!”

  • Joe’s Story: A Different Battle

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

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

  • Mercedes’ Story (Spanish with English Subtitles)

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

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

  • 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.”