Increasing Mental Health Resilience in the UCSF Community

There is a chance that in every lecture, laboratory, Zoom meeting, town hall audience or shuttle bus ride, someone around you is battling a mental health challenge or knows someone who is struggling. 


Mental illness affects one in five people or 47.1 million in the U.S., according to the American Psychological Association. The nonprofit group Bring Change to Mind reports that one in four people will be affected by a mental illness at some point in their lives and more than half of people living with a mental illness will not seek help because of the stigma associated with it. 

Since mental health disorders are usually invisible, making it difficult to address, a team across UC San Francisco has decided to do something about it.

Tim Montgomery, director of Student Disability Services and a member of UCSF’s Committee on Disability Inclusion, says that students need more support around mental health. He is working with others, including Diane Ngo, program manager for UCSF’s Department of Surgery, to bring more visibility to this issue for everyone. 

In 2018, the Committee on Disability Inclusion (CDI) published the Faces of Ability – In Their Own Words project to bring attention to those in the UCSF community with disabilities. Due to an overwhelming positive response, Montgomery and Ngo joined forces turning their focus to mental health challenges by launching the Faces of Ability II – Mental Health Resilience campaign in October 2020 as part of Disability Awareness Month. The goal of the campaign is to address mental health stigma and push a culture where we can openly discuss and encourage those needing support to seek it by sharing stories of resilience and hope. 

Addressing Stigma and Shame

Disability – and specifically mental health challenges – touches and/or will touch many people at some point in their lives. The goal of the Faces of Ability II – Mental Health Resilience campaign is to humanize and bring attention to mental health. 

“The main message we want to convey is that you are not alone,” says Ngo. “You do not have to suffer in silence. There are resources available, especially at UCSF, to help anyone in need of assistance.” 

The campaign draws attention to available mental health resources at UCSF and beyond. The campaign website features a list of mental health and support resources at UCSF as well as