Mental Health: Raising Awareness Step by Step


One in five adults experiences a mental health challenge in any given year. However, many don’t seek treatment because of the stigma associated with mental illness.

In an effort to raise awareness about mental health challenges in the region, the County Health and Human Services Agency and the National Alliance on Mental Illness are sponsoring the 2017 NAMI San Diego 5K Walk/Run and HHSA Wellness Expo.

The event will take place Saturday, April 29, 2017, from 7:30 to 11:00 a.m. at Liberty Station NTC Park, 2455 Cushing Road in Point Loma. The event is free and open to the public. Pets are also welcome.  Register or donate.

The annual walk and wellness expo are the official kickoff to Mental Health Month, observed every May. The event supports Live Well San Diego, the County’s vision to improve the health, safety and well-being of all residents.

In addition to the 5K, the HHSA Wellness Expo includes a huge resource fair of approximately 100 booths, an interactive art project, art exhibit, therapy dogs, family friendly activities area and a special zone for veterans.

“We are joining our efforts to raise awareness about mental illness and reduce the stigma associated with it,” said Alfredo Aguirre, director of HHSA Behavioral Health Services. “Recovery and wellness are possible and each of us has a role in creating an environment that supports recovery, nurtures social inclusion, and promotes the end of stigma toward those living with a mental health disorder.”

Many people experiencing a mental health disorder have not gotten treatment because of shame, embarrassment and fear of being judged.

“At NAMI San Diego, everything we do revolves around ending the stigma of mental illness…making mental illness okay to talk about,” said Shannon Jaccard, chief executive officer of NAMI San Diego.

“The NAMI Walk/Runs in San Diego County are a fun, educational and comfortable way to start the conversation about mental health. Hope to see you there!”

People experiencing a mental health challenge can access services by calling the County’s 24-hour, multilingual Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. Resources are also available at NAMI San Diego or the It’s Up to Us website.



José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact