How the Becoming Brave Trainings Are Empowering Shasta County Residents to Fight Stereotypes - On Their Terms

Becoming Brave Facilitators, who were trained in July 2015

(Pictured above: Becoming Brave facilitators who were trained in July)

Stigma and discrimination associated with mental health challenges are very real, and when someone discloses to others they have a mental illness it can lead to painful consequences, like losing a friend or even a job offer.

Yet opening up about a mental health challenge can also have tremendous benefits: Finding new support, reducing stigma and misconceptions about mental illness and feeling the relief of no longer having to keep a secret.

To help people negotiate the process of deciding to disclose, Stand Against Stigma has offered a series of Becoming Brave trainings that have been attended by more than 40 local residents and have given them a greater sense of empowerment and control of their stories with mental health challenges. The trainings are funded by the Shasta County Mental Health Services Act.

“The Becoming Brave program and training opened my eyes to a new depth of loving myself for who I am. I believe this because of its mission to be inclusive above all else,” said Amanda Flowers Peterson, a Brave Faces advocate and now a Becoming Brave facilitator.

Brave Faces speaker and Becoming Brave Facilitator Chris“The best part of Becoming Brave was being able to stand in a room with people who have so many different stories and to feel the healing and love that was created with people who were once strangers,” said Chris Stampfli, a Becoming Brave Facilitator and participant in the MHSA Academy (pictured right).

Based on a curriculum developed by some of the most nationally renowned stigma reduction researchers, Becoming Brave gives guidance for 1) considering the pros and cons of disclosing 2) different ways to disclose and 3) telling your story to reduce stigma and educate others.

The training provides opportunities for participants to decide what is right for them and their situation. Some graduates of the program may decide to go on to speak publicly about their experiences with mental illness, while others may decide it’s best for them to only tell a few friends.

In July, 14 local residents were trained as Becoming Brave facilitators through a grant provided by the Bay Area non-profit Project Return Support Network and future trainings are in the works.

“The Becoming Brave facilitators are some of the most creative, inspiring and passionate group of mental health advocates I’ve had the pleasure of training. Shasta County is lucky to have a powerful group of new Becoming Brave facilitators who will guide other consumers on how and when to disclose their mental health issues,” said Kelechi Ubozoh, one of the July trainers and program associate at Resource Development Associates.

To help organize another Becoming Brave training or to get on the contact list for future ones, contact Marc Dadigan at or 225-5970.

To learn more about the Honest, Open and Proud program (the curriculum which Becoming Brave is based), go here

To schedule a Becoming Brave training or RSVP for an upcoming training, contact Marc Dadigan at 

Previous Brave Faces Blogs

Nov. 20, 2015 - "Six Little Known Truths About Psych Medications From Shasta County Brave Faces Advocates"

Oct. 12, 2015  - "6 Realities About Addiction That Shasta County Brave Faces Want You To Understand"

Sept. 9, 2015 - "Rhonda Ramsay - Coming Out of the Darkness in My Daughter's Boots

Aug. 20, 2015 - "Two Presentations in One Day Show the Many (Brave) Faces of PTSD" 

May 9, 2015 - "Shasta County Poets, Rappers and Musicians Shatter Stigma at the Hope Is Alive! 2 Open Mic Night" 

May 9, 2015 - "Shasta County Poets, Rappers and Musicians Shatter Stigma at the Hope Is Alive! 2 Open Mic Night" 

April 16, 2015 - "Getting Squared Away: Brave Faces Advocates Neil and Christopher Discuss PTSD Recovery at UPrep"

Jan. 29, 2015 - "Brave Faces Advocates Tell Pioneer High Students To Find Someone They Trust To Talk About Their Pain"

Dec. 3, 2014 - "One Busy Wednesday: Brave Faces Ask Two Institute of Technology Assemblies and a Youth Ministry to 'Consider Their Minds'"

Sept. 25, 2014 - "Brave Faces Advocates Dani and Sam Tell Central Valley High Students "Depression is No Joke"

Sept. 7, 2014 - "Do Not Judge or You Too Will Be Judged"  - Brave Faces Advocate Kimberly Davis Speaks to Burney Presbyterian

June 29, 2014 - "Work Helped Make Me Well" - Christopher Speaks to Shasta County Clerical Staff