Breaking Down Barriers is an outreach and education program that works with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and the LGBTQIA+ community to talk about mental wellness. Through educational workshops and events, we discuss the stigma of mental health and connect participants to helpful resources. We also provide cultural humility/cultural competency training to community members and providers who work with these populations. We want to normalize conversations about mental wellness so everyone can thrive.
This is strictly an educational program, and we do not provide diagnoses or serve as licensed therapists.
Every community has a different perspective on mental wellness. We’re here to amplify your voice and add our expertise to the conversations already happening in our communities. Our educational workshops use a strengths-based approach to help you develop a positive relationship with your own mental health and support the wellness of your loved ones. Presentations are available in English, Spanish, and interpretation is available in other languages as needed. The workshop content can be adapted for youth, adults, and older adults/elders.
Here’s a few topics we can talk about:
Our Outreach Team collaborates with community organizations to develop and present workshops. We facilitate stigma reducing and interactive conversations to normalize mental health in a supportive environment, through a culturally relevant lens. No matter your current knowledge of mental health topics, our program is accessible for everyone and is tailored to reflect the values of our communities.
1 in 5
adults in the U.S. experience mental health issues in any given year*
*National Alliance on Mental Illness
Briana Leyva (she/her/hers) is the Outreach Coordinator for the Latinx Community. She is a daughter of immigrants from Guerrero, Mexico. Her background lies in mental health and health advocacy. She is passionate about holistic wellness, health equity, and community involvement. Outside of work, Briana enjoys spending time with loved ones and being outdoors.
Lily Mojdehi (she/her/hers) is the Outreach Coordinator for the Middle Eastern/South West Asian Community. She is a daughter of two immigrants from Iran, and was born and raised in San Diego. She has a background in crisis counseling and youth engagement. Outside of work, she enjoys dancing, being in nature, and volunteering throughout San Diego County.
Spshelle Rutledge (she/her/hers) is the Outreach Coordinator for the African American/Black Community. She is a Marine Corps veteran who specializes in mental health and public health. Outside of work, Spshelle enjoys time with loved ones and volunteering.
Vanessa Pineda (she/her/hers) is the Outreach Manager and the Outreach Coordinator for the LGBTQ + Community. She is a multi-generational Latinx Queer with a background in mental health and vocational rehabilitation. When not at work, she enjoys arranging flowers, tending to her house plants, and baking.
Isabella Amansec (they/them/she/her) is the Outreach Coordinator for the Asian and Pacific Islander Community. Isabella is a first-generation Filipino and is the child of immigrants from the Philippines. They have a background in youth counseling and social justice advocacy. Outside of work, Isabella enjoys attending local BIPOC-hosted events, cooking, and painting.
Bethlehem Wolkeba (she/her/hers) is the Outreach Coordinator for the African/Refugee Community. She is the daughter of Ethiopian immigrants and she was born and raised in San Diego/Kumeyaay land. Her background is in student counseling, mental health and social justice with an emphasis in health equity. Outside of work, she enjoys painting, spending time with loved ones and being outdoors.
Dianna Ratsamy (they, them, theirs) is the Mental Health Outreach and Education Specialist. They identify as multiracial, Laotian, Mexican, Chinese, transgender, non-binary, gender-fluid, and queer. They have a background in sociology of mental health and intersectionality. Outside of work, they enjoy cooking, dancing to fun music, and watching anime.
John Mollet (He/Him/His) is the Outreach Coordinator for the Native American Community. He is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Tribes of Montana. His background lies in Native American student advocacy. Outside of work, he enjoys zine-making and hanging out with his family.
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