Portrait of Sam Hewitt

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.

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Portrait of Dairrien Call

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.

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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.

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Portrait of Aiden Mares

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.

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Chante Catt with daughter.

Chante Catt

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.

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Mike Skondin sculpting glass

Mike Skondin

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.

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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.”

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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.

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Portrait of David Wharton

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.

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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.

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Becoming Brave Trainings Empower Shasta County People to Fight Stigma

To help people negotiate the process of deciding to disclose, Stand Against Stigma has offered a series of Becoming Brave trainings that have been attended by more than 40 local residents and have given them a greater sense of empowerment and control of their stories with mental health challenges. The trainings are funded by the Shasta County Mental Health Services Act.

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6 Little Known Truths About Psych Medications from Shasta County Brave Faces Advocates

The Brave Faces and Voices project began in 2012 as a way for Shasta County residents to reduce stigma and shame associated with mental illness and suicide by telling their inspiring stories of recovery. Nearly 30 people have bravely come forward to share their experiences with the goal of debunking pervasive misconceptions that prevent people from seeking help and support.

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Rhonda Ramsey on Preventing Suicide – Stepping out of the Darkness in My Daughter’s Boots

My name is Rhonda Ramsey, and on December 28, 2008, I received a telephone call that no parent ever wants to receive. After two previous suicide attempts, and many years of battling bipolar disorder, my daughter Melissa lost her fight with the illness. Even though I knew bipolar disorder caused my daughter to have dramatic mood swings, and at times interfered with her ability to make good choices, nothing could have ever prepared me for losing my child to suicide.

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Two Presentations in One Day Show the Many (Brave) Faces of PTSD

When Neil Shaw was a young man, his older brother, a patrol deputy/corporal, suffered a heart attack while trying to quell an unruly mob at Laguna Seca Raceway. As he lay on the ground in need of medical attention, bystanders chanted “Die, pig, die.” Bobby Shaw, a father of two girls, passed away that day, and he hadn’t yet entered his 40s.

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