Tribute to the Founder
Brenda Navarro was diagnosed with Rapid Cycling Bipolar 1 Illness in 1988. Shortly thereafter, she attended her first support group in San Jose, CA. “It was exciting and a relief to be able to share with others our challenging journeys and our feelings about being diagnosed with this illness.” Seeing the need for more support groups, Brenda started her first support group at Stanford University. This was the beginning of her desire to serve as a mental health advocate.
Following a hospitalization in 2000, the college where Brenda was teaching attempted to fire her. Brenda fought back by filing a union grievance and worker's compensation law suit. She won her legal battle. This experience propelled her even more to educate the public about Bipolar Disorder and to address the stigma that surrounds these mental disorders.
After retiring from teaching, she moved to Benicia, CA. In 2001, Brenda attended her first Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) conference, which inspired her to start a DBSA support group chapter in Napa, CA in 2003. In 2004 Brenda launched a website (www.NapaBipolarDepression.org), and registered as a non-profit organization in 2006.
Facilitating DBSA support group meetings provided Brenda with a venue to help educate and support family members, and to encourage wellness and recovery for those who suffer from the illness.
In December 2011, Brenda fell ill with pneumonia and was later diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome. Brenda was a valiant fighter, but eventually lost the battle to her health issues in March of 2013.
Brenda led the way, and her co-facilitators and board members continue her dream of educating and providing hope to individuals, and their family members, suffering with Bipolar Disorder and Depression. The Napa Chapter of DBSA is thankful for the groundwork Brenda worked so hard to lay. This was truly her life passion and work! It is because of her diligence that we are able to so easily continue to help others in the Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties.