James Herington has lived in Burney, Calif., since 2002, and he’s a Shasta College student majoring in family studies with a minor in human development. He volunteers for Circle of Friends, the local drop-in center for people with mental health challenges and is very dedicated to educating the community about the harmful effects of stigma.
Growing up, James had lung ailments and problems in school that made him a target for constant bullying, which led to low-esteem and isolation. He survived a suicide attempt, and also lost his roommate in Seattle to death by suicide. He masked his pain with drugs and alcohol. After moving to Burney, James began working with a psychiatrist, and he got a handle on his mental health challenges with medication, his parents’ support and bonding with peers at Circle of Friends.
Depending on the audience, James’ speeches can highlight the following topics: