Verna Barrientos has been involved with NAMI-Santa Clara County since 2014, and has held several roles within the organization. Verna is a lover of both formal and informal education, and received her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from San Jose State University in 2018. In the same year she joined NAMI-SCC’s Board. Verna is living proof of the importance for people with mental health challenges to dream big because they can accomplish amazing things in their lives. Verna has lived with depression and anxiety since she was a teenager, and several of her family members live with mental health challenges. Verna strongly believes that some of the most important ways to end stigma around mental illness are by having open and honest conversations about mental health and wellness; by having unconditional love and support from peers, friends, and family members; and for providers to be knowledgeable and empathetic about mental health and wellness. Verna utilizes self-care by reading books, playing games, having deep and meaningful conversations, and going for walks on the beach with her dog Zero.