About Our Chapter

Welcome. We are the San Diego chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The grassroots work we do focuses on eliminating the loss of life from suicide by: delivering innovative prevention programs, educating the public about risk factors and warning signs, raising funds for suicide research and programs, and reaching out to those individuals who have lost someone to suicide.

As a part of AFSP’s growing nationwide network of chapters, we bring together people from all backgrounds who want to prevent suicide in our communities. Families and friends who have lost someone to suicide, vulnerable individuals, mental health professionals, clergy, educators, students, community/business leaders, and many others energize our chapter.

Dedicated to Preventing Suicide and Saving Lives

The San Diego Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is dedicated to serving the community and building a collaborative environment as we work together to eliminate the loss of life by suicide. As a volunteer driven organization, we must thank all of our volunteers and send a very special thank you to our Board of Directors for their support and leadership.

AFSP San Diego Chapter Board of Directors:


CHAIR: Che Hernandez 

Che Hernandez serves as the AFSP San Diego Chapter Chair, is a contributing member of the Suicide Prevention Council (SPC) of San Diego County and the California Suicide Prevention Network (CSPN). Che is also an ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) Trainer, safeTALK Trainer and Survivors of Suicide Loss Bereavement Support Group Facilitator. After the tragic suicide of his nephew, Austin, in 2009, Che serves the community in suicide prevention, suicide survivor support, and advocates for mental health stigma reduction and mental wellness.


PRESIDENT:  Amanda Gutierrez, Psy.D

Dr. Gutierrez received intensive training in DBT at the DBT Programs at Harbor UCLA Medical Center and Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. She has also received intensive training in evidence-based treatments for emotion dysregulation disorders. She has experience treating children, adolescents, adults, seniors, and their families. Dr. Gutierrez is an adjunct professor in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at the University of San Diego and the senior psychologist at the DBT Center of San Diego. She has been on the DBTCSD treatment team member since 2010.


TREASURER:  Tina Ailes

Tina is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and currently works with the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT). She is passionate about suicide prevention and reducing the suicides in San Diego County and beyond. She has served as the AFSP Survivor Outreach Coordinator for the last year and looks forward to continuing to do so.


SECRETARY:  Julia Nance, Ph.D

Dr. Julia Nance completed a doctorate in clinical psychology in May 2014 and currently holds a staff position in Counseling and Psychological Services at San Diego State University and works in private practice. She has worked as a mental health provider and researcher for 7 years in various settings including St. Vincent de Paul, Veteran’s Affairs, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, DBT Center of San Diego, Applied DBT Associates, and private practice. Julia became particularly interested in suicide prevention as a result of her work in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and work with populations who are at high risk for self injury and suicide. Dr. Nance joined the AFSP San diego Chapter Board of Directors in September 2014 and looks forward to continued work toward the prevention of suicide through community outreach.



Kim is a partner in and performer for The Xceptional Music Company. She’s a lead singer and manager of "thePopRx". Kim is also a competitive track and road cyclist currently on the Holliday Rock p/b Zoca Race Team. Kim supports a number of philanthropic and civic causes as a volunteer and board member for such organizations as the Jackie Robinson YMCA, the Heartbeat Music Academy, Labrador Rescuers of San Diego, and the AFSP San Diego Chapter. Kim became a volunteer and board member for AFSP to find a way to assist others through her experience with major depression and attempted suicide, and also as a way to aide her in staying balanced and healthy while she embraces her life story and continues on her journey.


DIRECTOR: Lee Miller

Lee Miller is a federal law enforcement officer with over 20 years of service in the federal government. He also serves as a Chaplain for his agency and a volunteer minister with Newbreak Church. He has a ministerial license with the Independent Assemblies of God. lee became involved in suicide prevention after several of his co-workers took their own lives. He learned that unfortunately, like the military, the law enforcement profession has a high rate of suicide. lee believes in a 'whole-person' (mind, body, soul, and spirit) approach to suicide prevention and mental health and is active in implementing this type of approach at his work and in his community through his efforts with AFSP and its partners.


DIRECTOR:  Luz Pinto

Luz Pinto possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. She has over ten years of experience working in Psychiatry research; during this time, she has interviewed hundreds of individuals diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia. The need for suicide prevention and support for survivors was deeply informed by this experience. 

Luz has been supporting AFSP since 2009, when she attended her first Out of the Darkness Walk. She joined the Board of Directors, San Diego Chapter, in September of 2014 and is eager to make a difference.


DIRECTOR:  Terri Wyatt

Terri Wyatt, a San Diego resident for over 35 years, is a registered nurse and works at Sharp's Cancer Center as a oncology patient navigator. She has served on the American Cancer Society's Leadership council for the last 10 years and is now changing her focus to serve on the AFSP San Diego Chapter Board of Directors. After the tragic loss of her son Preston by suicide in 2011, Terri wants to focus her attention on educating the community, especially our youth, to let them know that there is help out there. She has been active in the organization by participating as a volunteer the last couple of years helping with the Out of Darkness Community Walk and the International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day event. She wants to concentrate on suicide prevention, education, and suicide survivor support.


AREA DIRECTOR: Jessica van der Stad
Phone: (855) 869-2377
Email: jvanderstad@afsp.org