Fighting stigma can be more difficult than fighting our mental health challenges.

Sharing Our Lives, Voices and Experiences

Sharing Our Lives, Voices and Experiences (SOLVE) is a stigma elimination program. SOLVE trains people in the community who have been living with mental health challenges to share their personal experiences. By telling their stories, these peer educators help to reduce the social barriers that prevent people from obtaining treatment. The Surgeon General estimates that one in four people are affected by mental illness, and that peer education and support effectively corrects misinformation.

The SOLVE Speakers Bureau consists of an array of people from the Bay Area who have had challenges in their lives with mental health conditions and who come forward to talk openly about these experiences by sharing their stories of struggle, hope and triumph with others.

Our Mission: SOLVE aims to decrease the fear, shame and isolation of those with mental health challenges and conditions through peer education. SOLVE aims to raise awareness of the community on issues surrounding mental health as well as work to erase the prejudice and discrimination of people living with mental health challenges.
CLICK here to watch one of our PEER EDUCATORS share his personal story of struggle with mental health challenges and triumph.


Interested in becoming a Peer Educator?

Are you experienced living with mental health challenges? Do you have a story of struggle, hope and triumph that you would like to share?

SOLVE is looking to fill the Speakers Bureau with enthusiastic, passionate and committed Peer Educators who reflect the diversity of San Francisco. We are seeking individuals who have personally experienced living with mental health challenges, who understand the difficulties of sustaining one’s mental health, and who want to help others who are experiencing similar circumstances. In addition, we are looking for people who want to promote change and help to eradicate the impact of stigma surrounding mental illness.

  • Peer Educators commit to the following requirements:

A minimum of 9 months commitment to the program participation in three 4-hour training sessions at MHA-SF offices completion of one practice presentation a minimum of one community presentation per month MHA-SF will provide:

  1. participation in three- 4-hour training sessions at MHASF offices
  2. completion of one practice presentation
  3. Active participation in community presentations ( at least 3-4 per year)
  4. Attend 3 Advanced Trainings each year
  5. Access peer educator support meetings

If you’re interested, please complete a SOLVE Peer Educator application and e-mail it to

SOLVE is a multi-faceted program with several core activities.

  • Community Education and Interaction:

SOLVE works very closely with a national known expert on stigma and mental illness. Dr. Patrick Corrigan’s research has found that significant changes occur in people’s attitudes toward those who have mental health challenges through contact and interaction. SOLVE delivers community presentations throughout San Francisco.Presentations are interactive and packed with information; they include a combination of peer education and resources.

To book a presentation, download and complete the Speaker Request Form and email it to or fax it to 415-421-2928. Please send presentation requests at least one month in advance of your desired date. Due to a large volume of requests, we may not be able to schedule your desired date. We will do our best to accommodate your preferred date and time.

  • Training Sessions:

Sharing one’s story is no easy task, and SOLVE offers quarterly training sessions to all Peer Educators. These trainings help educators learn how to conduct engaging presentations, communicate effectively with diverse audiences, and work with media.

  • Our SOLVE Advanced Training is scheduled:
    4th Tuesday (every other Month)
    Our training programs are facilitated by leading community experts:

David Perry, Renn Vara, and Carmen Lee.

Other Stigma Reduction Programs

Take a look at some other national and international stigma reduction programs:

If you or someone you love is in need of assistance, please refer to our online resource booklet and service links.

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An affiliate of national Mental Health America