The San Diego Mental Health History project is a project of San Diego’s Community Health Improvement Partners Behavioral Health Work Team.  We have captured the stories of individuals contributed to the development of San Diego’s mental health recovery culture. Through these conversations, we celebrate our community’s dedication to continue to improve the lives of those living with behavioral health challenges in San Diego County.

This project creates an invaluable archive for future generations of providers and consumers, serving as a training tool to engage mental health advocates, helping them to understand and navigate San Diego’s mental health system of care. We hope it will inform future advocacy, programming, and policy initiatives in our mental health community for decades to come.


  • Alfredo Aguirre
  • Jane Fyre
  • Piedad Garcia
  • Isabel Karmach
  • Marianne MacDonald
  • Margaret McCahill
  • Bill Maheu and Marla Kincaid
  • Harold Mavritte
  • Mary Jo O’Brien
  • Bettie Reinhardt
  • Karenlee Robinson

Project Partners

Community Health Improvement Partners   Community Health Improvement Partners has been a leader in innovative, collaborative solutions to address critical community health issues in the San Diego region. The mission of CHIP is to advance long-term solutions to priority health needs through collaboration and community engagement.

Impact Young Adults    The mission of Impact Young Adults is to enrich the lives of young adults with mental illness, ages 18 – 35, with experiences of acceptance, personal growth, and accomplishment using a peer-run model to create a supportive community with social activities, mentoring, and leadership opportunities.

Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital     Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital is the largest free-standing behavioral health hospital in San Diego County. From children and teens to seniors, we care for patients of all ages — helping build strong foundations to fight anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, bipolar disorder and more. We offer the most advanced clinical treatments from more than 40 affiliated expert psychiatrists — yet empowering you in your care is the cornerstone of our healing philosophy.

Story Corps    The mission of Story Corps is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. This is done to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters.

Urban Beats     Urban Beats is an innovative artistic expression program for Transitional Age Youth (TAY). Through creating and delivering artistic productions and TAY-focused social media messaging, Urban Beats aims to enhance self-sufficiency and increase TAY engagement in behavioral health treatment. Urban Beats utilizes strengths identification and artistic self-expression to fight the stigma related to mental illness.