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 three 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 invulnerable 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 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 Structrual 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.

Our Impact

2016 - 2017 Fiscal Year

52 Community
to 1054

34 peers received
Peer Educator

As a result
of attendees
the effects of

3 new
Peer Educators'
Training for
12 peers

Training law
enforcement officers
through the
Crisis Intervention

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)

Saving Countless Lives and Families!

law enforcement
officers trained
since 2011

The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is comprised of 35 community members, mental health advocates, health service providers, and police officers including the Mayor's Office on Disability, NAMI SF, SF Suicide Prevention Hotline, Coalition on Homelessness SF, and Citywide Case Management, all working together to provide cutting edge training for law enforcement officers. The goal is to teach officers how to effectively manage behavioral crisis situations in the field using de-escalation techniques, obtaining a safe and positive outcome for the officer and consumer.

BART Police Department
SF Police Department
SFPD Communications Dispatch
SF District Attorney's Office
SF Park Rangers

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