SOLVE (Sharing Our Lives, Voices, and Experiences) is a mental health stigma-elimination speakers bureau. SOLVE seeks to replace misconceptions and harmful beliefs about mental health challenges with our stories of recovery in free community presentations throughout the City and County of San Francisco.

SOLVE addresses 3 main kinds of stigma: Public, Structural, and Self.

>> Public stigma involves the general misconceptions society holds about mental health challenges; for example:

  • We’re violent and dangerous
  • We can’t work or contribute to our communities
  • We can’t be stable partners or reliable parents

SOLVE’s personal stories of hope and recovery counter these negative and damaging beliefs.

>> Structural stigma happens when Public stigma gets worked into systems. When that happens, power can be leveraged against people with mental health challenges who may be in vulnerable life circumstances. SOLVE speaks directly to groups who hold the power to affect the lives of people with mental health challenges, including:

  • Employers
  • Landlords
  • Law Enforcement
  • Medical Providers
  • Public Policy Makers
  • Educators
  • The Media

>> Self-stigma comes from the messages we hear in our lives that tell us we ought to feel bad about who we are, and ashamed that we’ve experienced mental health challenges. Self-stigma can be the final barrier to recovery for many of us who live with mental health challenges, even after progress with Public and Structural stigma has been made. SOLVE provides free peer-to-peer presentations to address self-stigma in our community, as well as ongoing trainings and peer support for our Peer Educators.

If you would like to schedule a free SOLVE presentation, please contact Gillian Howell, Peer Professional Development Specialist, by phone at 415-421-2926 x310, or by email at