Over the course of the year, we interviewed dozens of people touched in some way by the mental health care system in San Diego -- Families struggling to get care for a loved one, families who have lost loved ones, and people who are working diligently to help those in need of care and help try to fix a broken system. These are the faces of many of those people, who are sharing their stories in hopes of breaking the stigma of mental illness and bringing awareness to the crisis.
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Aaron Basila is a NAMI San Diego outreach worker who helps connect homeless people with resources in downtown San Diego.
Lauren is speaking out about her struggles to get her son Jack the mental health care he needs, because she believes breaking the stigma is the only way the system will change.
Sgt. Crysler leads the Sheriff’s Homeless Assistance Resource Team, which focuses on rural regions of San Diego County.
Dr. Mark Marvin, Head of PERT; Wes Albers, PERT Community Liaison; and Jorge Duran, chief of investigations for the District Attorney’s office. All three men are involved with the de-escalation training for law enforcement officers, funded by the District Attorney’s office.
San Diego native Joseph Adamo has been in and out of temporary housing as he works with the Sheriff Department’s HART to try to get off the streets. He says he has struggled with mental health issues for years.
Clarissa Anderson holding a picture of her twin sister Chloe, who died by suicide. The family claims their private insurer did not make available adequate mental health services.
Dr. Moises Baron is the Chief Executive Officer at the San Diego Center for Children. He has been a psychologist for more than 26 years. He is an strong advocate for more funding to expand mental health care services for young people.
The Board of Supervisors oversees the county’s Behavioral Health Services (BHS) department, which provides mental health and substance use disorder services to more than 111,000 San Diego County residents of all ages. Board Chair, Supervisor Fletcher has made it a priority to reform the behavioral health services.
Roland Childs said that his challenges with mental health issues are a big part of what led him to homelessness.
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore oversees the county jails, the largest provider of mental health services in the county.
Casondra Pimentel graduated from the county’s Behavioral Health Collaborative Court, a program designed to help people with mental health challenges avoid incarceration.
Janey Ertel is a combat trauma therapist and Charles Ertel is a retired Naval aviator and a clinical psychologist. The married therapists work with Headstrong”, an organization that treats veterans using a method called “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.”
Steve Padilla is an Army veteran who has faced challenges with PTSD. He is an advocate with Headstrong, a non-profit that provides confidential, cost-free mental health care treatment for military vets and their families.
Lisa Garcia is a Project Manager for Recovery International, an organization that uses a cognitive-behavioral, peer-to-peer, self-help training system developed by Abraham Low, MD, to help individuals gain skills to lead more peaceful and productive lives.
Tanya Suarez is suing the County of San Diego, claiming she should not have been left alone and unrestrained in a jail cell at Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in 2019. She ended up gouging out both of her eyes, while she says she was in a delusional state. Suarez said she struggled with depression and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
When NBC 7 met and interviewed Commander Billy Duke, he worked in San Diego County Medical Services, overseeing care in the San Diego County Jail system. He has since been promoted to Commander and assigned to manage Area 1 of the Detention Services Bureau.
Volunteers regularly bring dogs to the Psychiatric Services Unit at Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in Santee to spend time with inmates. These sweet pups are form the “Love on a Leash” program.
volunteers at the NAMI clubhouse downtown, which offers services to homeless individuals.
Jenelle Batalia is a licensed clinical social worker and the Director of Business Development at the San Diego Center for Children. She encourages parents to be persistent in reaching out for help if they believe their children are facing mental health challenges.
Samuel Marsh volunteers at the NAMI clubhouse downtown, which offers services to homeless individuals.