Sam Hewitt

Portrait of Sam Hewitt

15-year-old high schooler and Redding resident Sam Hewitt shares how the death by suicide of her friend Josh two years ago affected her own mental health as well as her classmates’.

Sam is doing much better today with the help of therapy, treatment and music. She is now dedicated to preventing suicide among other Shasta County youth.

Dairrien Call

Portrait of Dairrien Call

Dairrien Call, a recent Anderson New Technology graduate, shares in his Brave Faces gallery how music, therapy and support from friends has helped him deal with depression, bullying and suicidal thoughts.

Jullie Calkins

*Full gallery coming soon* – Jullie Calkins lived through childhood trauma that later contributed to mental health and substance use challenges as a teen and as an adult. Hear how mediation and WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) helped her overcome addiction.

Aiden Mares

Portrait of Aiden Mares

*Coming Soon* – Aiden Mares, a father and community organizer, talks about how anxiety and depression were symptoms of a more significant change he needed to live a full life – gender transition.

Chante Catt

Chante Catt with daughter.

Chante shares how becoming a new mom flooded her with contradictory emotions – joy, anger and depression – and how she wants women to feel safe to discuss the complex emotions many experience as they become a parent.

Mike Skondin

Mike Skondin sculpting glass

Brave Face, Mike Skondin, a U.S. Marine Veteran, talks about his experiences transitioning back to civilian life with PTSD after serving in Colombia and doing drug interdiction.

“I was constantly doing things to match the adrenaline level I experienced in combat,” says Mike. This drive attracted him and jobs with significant risk of physical injury, and led to substance abuse and two suicide attempts.

“I never wanted to die, I was in so much pain I just wanted it to stop,” said Mike, “I didn’t see another way.” Mike finally got the help he needed to recover through VA and Empire Recovery Center.

Cherish Padro

New York City native and Redding resident Cherish Padro has learned to manage her bipolar diagnosis despite the stigma she faced from family and well intentioned members of her church.”It’s been a challenging but rewarding journey. I’ve learned how to take care of myself and make the choices that are best for me.”

Matthew Sprenger

Matt Sprenger from Anderson shares his story of surviving a suicide attempt as a young teenager and how he is now on the path of recovery. The National Institute for Mental Health reports there are 11 people who survive a suicide attempt for every person who completes a suicide.

David Wharton

Portrait of David Wharton

Redding resident and community organizer, David Wharton, pushed through many layers of stigma to reach a place of healing in his life. He manages his anxiety and depression with medication, counseling and volunteer service.

Unpacking PTSD: Medical Students Consider the Many Sides of Trauma

Without breaking the cycle, trauma can permeates through families for generations.In a presentation at the Institute of Technology, Brave Faces Advocates, David Martinez and Mike Skondin, shared their stories of mental health recovery with students getting ready to enter the medical field. Both speakers reflected on how intergenerational trauma led to challenges with mental health and substance use.