Joint Statement by Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO, Mental Health America and Daphyne Watson, Executive Director, Mental Health America of San Diego
“It is with heavy hearts that Mental Health America (MHA) and MHA of San Diego (MHASD) mourns the death of Kurt Cunningham, a staff member at MHA San Diego and long-time LGBTQ and mental health advocate, who passed away last week.
“Like many in this country, Kurt struggled with a mental illness. Kurt had depression and managed his illness for a long time. He drew on his experiences and dedicated his career to helping others, and understood that we need to fight every day for those who felt alone or felt they had no voice. Kurt was a strong advocate for transgender youth, who we know often fight discrimination and mental illness.
“Depression is a real, common and treatable illness. Unfortunately, while Kurt was working to help others, his own illness overcame him. It is a reminder to all of us that recovery is an ongoing process, that we must continue to break down the obstacles associated with seeking help, and we must work to ensure the necessary resources are there for those dealing with mental health issues.
“MHA of San Diego and the entire MHA family will continue to fight for those dealing with mental illnesses, and we must all dedicate ourselves to making suicide a rare occurrence.”