In the very first episode of Bay Area Pride, we’re talking with Brad Chapin from SF Suicide Prevention (note: since filming, Brad has left the organization). He shares his experiences of working in various facets of mental health advocacy and how PFLAG was instrumental to his journey to where he is today.
While statistics show that the LGBTQIA+ community is at higher risk for suicide, it’s no surprise how the work complements his gay rights and activism involvement. In his off-hours from SFSP, he helps lead the charge with the HIV Caucus, Harvey Milk Democratic Club, which members fondly refer to as the Milk Club. Current campaigns include securing funding for treatment and research for sexually transmitted infections and supporting issues such as “Housing is health care.
Brad’s former political mentor is Harry Britt, who ran the Milk Club. Brad and Harry strategized together for policy changes; Brad researched, wrote speeches for Harry, and helped him physically toward the end of his life. At Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, a mural honoring their friendship can be seen featuring Harry, Brad and Brad’s dog Blanche. The sweet chihuahua mix spreads cheers as she travels with Brad almost everywhere.
Brad’s passion for helping others through mental health crises goes back to his teen years. After high school, Brad got involved with the mental health hotline Queer Nebraska Youth Network. He says it was inspiring being able to help 11-year-old kids who were calling in with challenges. Brad grew involved with PFLAG in greater Omaha, Nebraska.
Brad went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and LGBT studies at the University of Nebraska. Later, Brad studied clinical psychology in graduate school in Boston. Brad’s work at SFSP gives him great pride for providing a space for people to have conversations that can change their trajectory in a positive direction.