CAHM was founded in response to the death of Todd—a vibrant and talented young man who lost his battle with mental illness and took his life in 2005. His parents, Rex and Connie Kennemer, were overwhelmed with shock and sadness. As they grieved, they realized that they had entered a strange new neighborhood of broken individuals who had experienced similar loss. As Rex and Connie’s pain began to subside they began to tell their story. They learned that this enabled others to begin to accept and embrace their own story.
The Kennemers discovered that this neighborhood was more expansive than they could have imagined. They also learned of others, both adults and young people, facing mental health or substance abuse challenges. They walked alongside families who were struggling to cope with their loved one’s mental illness. As Rex and Connie faced their own reality authentically and hopefully, others were helped…and heard.
A group of professionals in the field of mental health and suicide prevention began to come alongside the Kennemers. This group today is the alliance that brings an annual Forum for Healthy Minds to San Diego County, with this conviction: Together we can change the landscape of mental health in our communities.