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First Person: Finding A Safe Space In A San Diego Arts Organization

David McConnell is pictured at the Sherman Heights location of Urban Beats in front of a wall of artwork, July 20, 2018.
Brooke Ruth
David McConnell is pictured at the Sherman Heights location of Urban Beats in front of a wall of artwork, July 20, 2018.

Nearly one out of five Americans suffer from mental illness.

Urban Beats serves young adults with or at risk of having mental health challenges. The organization uses art as a platform for young adults to express themselves to improve their well-being and become more self-sufficient.

The organization is funded by Proposition 63, now known as the Mental Health Services Act, which was passed in 2004 and is funded by a one percent tax on those who make over one million dollars.

As part of our First Person series, 20-year-old David McConnell tells us how Urban Beats has provided him a safe space during challenging circumstances.

First Person: Finding A Safe Space In A San Diego Arts Organization
First Person: Finding A Safe Space In A San Diego Arts Organization GUEST: David McConnell, participant, Urban Beats

I'm Maureen Cavanaugh our first person series features the stories of Sandy Agins told in their own voices. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health nearly one in five adults in the U.S. have a mental illness. The San Diego organization Urban beat's works with young adults with mental health challenges. It uses art as a platform for them to express themselves to improve their well-being and become more self-sufficient. As part of our First Person series 20 year old David MacConnell tells us how urban beats has provided him a safe space during challenging circumstances. Despite my bipolar depression my DADT and the whole list of this orders I have they didn't look at me any different. They look at themselves. My name is David. I am 20 years old. I. Produced music reviews and I was to be on YouTube a lot and one day what had become YouTube. And I also love listen to people I want to hear what they have to say even if it means not responding back if that's what they want. I'm willing to do so. Throughout my whole life. How people are pushed me was like wow you're so weird that you just just go we don't want you here. Even in my own family setting they never accept me because I was different from. My other family members like my other family members were these religious people that language. If you. Do this. We're going to go to hell. Throughout my whole life I felt like my mental issues was an issue. I was in some of the Eichorst because like I said my family says oh this is your fault it's no one else's. My mom. The fact that I'm nothing like her makes her mad and she doesn't except me and like she thinks the fact that I'm like this is I'm not going to make it she even goes as far as like your mental issues are your fault like I would say right now. Yes I'm living my mom right now but we're in terms where we don't even talk at all. But like I wouldn't doubt later on within a couple of months she'll kick me out again. So. But. I got to Nordmann beats and their staff. They made me realize that it's not my fault that I have these things. Basically I came to urban beats thinking it was like oh nothing but music and stuff. I mean that's my first thought of it and then like they showed me like hey we're more than music we're about your well-being and we want you to put in a AR4. In other words they want us to express ourselves. At first I wasn't too interested. I'm not allowed to say I was like man. People that act like this right now but will like put me down later on. How wrong was I like basically when I first saw them. There was something about them that I thought would never see anyone else. I mean the staff was very supportive. And like how they went about things was spectacular despite their own point of views and stuff they would like open their minds of what we have to say and stuff. I'll be honest right now like when I first went to Urban beats I was a really depressed really shy really timid person. And now I'm rarely in a studio making anime review. At this point I'll give you three seconds. 1 1 2 2 3 3 okay. Devlin Cry-Baby is basically an enemy that's been remade. Well well technically it's kind of a. You say this. There's a lot of commands like a domain creditors are talking about. It's in her Netflix original anime. I'm going to say right now it's Netflix's only good part. The only confirmed the only good part of Netflix the anime review is about an anime and Netflix Original actually called self-command Cry-Baby. We talk about like the concept of it we listen to some of the soundtracks and basically we just every once make a joke in there you know and we like edited some audio in. Through urban beats. I actually excepted myself entirely and I got to know myself more. I was actually a shy timid person. It was just like all those years of being put down especially by your family. That's the reason why I was like I was in love because that's how I was that nervous needs help me get out of that. I was more outgoing I was more confident of doing things what I'm trying to say is like I felt like I was a point in my life. Actually most of my life. I felt like the world was against me. But it's here. They helped me realize not all the world against me. That they are gonna be people that hurt you but there's also going to be people that's going to stay by your side. There was 20 year old David McConnell. That first person feature was produced by Brooke Ruth.

KPBS Midday Edition's First Person series tells the stories of average and not-so-average San Diegans in their own words. Their experiences, both universal and deeply personal, offer a unique lens into the news of the day.

Corrected: October 5, 2021 at 11:12 AM PDT
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