He has a background in education, advocacy, social justice and he once served in the U.S. Army. But Daric Desautel, a former elementary school teacher, found his way to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, San Mateo County while in the midst of his own personal battle with bipolar disorder and addiction.
Since making a full recovery, Daric has dedicated himself to
helping others find their way to wellness by serving as a mentor, support group
facilitator, and graciously sharing his own lived experience.
Though he now
works in substance abuse treatment at the Veterans Affairs, Palo Alto Health
Care System, Daric remains active in NAMI SMC.
The sharing of a personal story can be self-reflective, educational, de-stigmatizing and incredibly empowering. During Mental Health Awareness Month, we share stories of hope, resilience and recovery from those who have experienced mental health and substance use issues. These individuals are sharing their stories in the hope that others will be inspired to seek help, and join them on the path to recovery.
“I turned to alcohol for relief. My self-stigma was so ingrained that I preferred to be considered an alcoholic than to be mentally ill,” said Yoshi who first experienced mental health stigma at age 4 when her mother had a psychotic break and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
Daniel, who started smoking and drinking at age 12, and cocaine, speed and needles by age 18, shares, ” My inner world was dark, cold and lonely and I used drugs to cope with the feelings of failure and depression, believing it had ruined my life and was beyond redemption or salvation. Those years were the darkest and most dismal years of my life.“
The New Year brought with it the legalization of cannabis in California. While medical marijuana has been legal in the state for over two decades, California voters took to the ballots last November to approve of Proposition 64, legalizing recreational cannabis.
Adults 21 or older can now use, carry and grow cannabis. In a 2016 survey of San Mateo County residents, 20 percent of respondents reported currently using cannabis. One in ten non-users said they would try it if it were legalized.
Now that adult use is legal in San Mateo County, you probably have lots of questions about the health effects of cannabis use. Check out this Wellness Matters article for answers.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness San Mateo County (NAMI SMC) program, Peer PALS, is off to a great start. The free program pairs PALS, who are doing well on their own recovery journey with peers, who are also seeking recovery and could benefit from the friendship and support of a PAL who’s been there.
After holding the first PAL training in November, the program is gaining momentum and seeking more Peer and PAL applicants. NAMI SMC is also partnering with CATS, a free ticket program that will allow Peer PALS to attend exciting events and venues in the Bay Area.
These are the names of the 25 transgender people whose murders have been reported, here in the United States in 2017 alone. Today, on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we remember and celebrate the lives of those who have been taken from us due to anti-transgender violence.
Last Thursday, November 16, the San Mateo County Pride Center held a candlelight vigil to commemorate the trans lives lost this year. Today from 6 to 8 p.m. the Pride Center will be hosting “What’s the T?” a dialogue series that will act as a starting point for local action around the issues that our transgender and gender nonconforming neighbors are facing.
Check out this Wellness Matters article for more on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and how the San Mateo County Pride Center is offering support and inspiring change in the transgender and gender nonconforming community.