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Be Mindful: Breaking the stereotypes surrounding mental illness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we are shining a light on the issue with our series "Be Mindful."

HOUSTON — For a decade, KHOU 11 News anchor Lisa Foronda Harper entered our living rooms nightly, poised, pretty and perfect – or so it seemed.

“I had a suicide attempt at 15,” Lisa said. “I didn’t want to be here anymore and I shot myself up with my brother’s insulin.”

With hospitalization and treatment, she got better. Until she got her first job as a journalist.

“When I got into TV in 1991, I as at my first TV station and someone said, ‘You need to lose weight,’” Lisa remembers. “That started 22 years of bulimia and anxiety struggling to be what other people expected me to be and not wanting to deal with it.”

She is far from alone.

One in five women and one in 10 men will deal with mental illness at some time in their life. But it continues to be misunderstood.

From the outside, many look at Lisa and think, “She’s gorgeous, she’s successful. What does she have to be depressed about?”

She’s heard that question many times through the years.

“My issues are my issues, just as they are for someone who may look like they should have depression,” she explained.

Her battle with anxiety and depression has a genetic component.

“My mom died by suicide at 2009. It’s a sad ending to a long and painful life.”

Painful but not shameful.

“It’s the same as if I had diabetes or if I was dealing with high blood pressure. It's a chronic illness and you manage it as with any physical illness.”

She manages with medication, therapy and being out of television.

“Stressful every day. I hated the spotlight. It was horrible having to be perfect every day.”

Now she uses her experience to help others as a mental health advocate and through her work at Legacy Community Health.

“I’m passionate about that. I think people need to know it’s OK and there is nothing wrong with you to come out to talk about it.”

Mental Health Resources:




re:MIND - Depression and Bipolar Support


(713) 600-1131

support groups and resources for people with depression or bipolar disorder, and their families

NAMI Houston


(713) 970-4419

support groups, education, advocacy

Harris Center 24-hour Crisis Line:

Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis may call The Harris Center’s 24-hour Crisis Line at 1-866-970-4770, or 713-970-7000, option 1.

For information on outpatient services at The Harris Center, please call the Patient Access Line at 713-970-7000, option 2, to determine eligibility for one of our Mental Health Outpatient Clinics or visit our website at TheHarrisCenter.org.

For eligibility assessments, please call the Patient Access Line at 713-970-7000, option 2, to determine eligibility for one of our Mental Health Outpatient Clinics.

Parents and legal guardians seeking services for their children may visit the 4th Floor of the Southwest Community Service Center located at 9401 Southwest Freeway, Houston, 77074.

Adults seeking services may visit any of our Community Service Centers:

• Northwest Community Service Center (3737 Dacoma, Houston)

• Southwest Community Service Center (9401 Southwest Freeway, Houston)

• Southeast Community Service Center (5901 Long Drive, Houston)

• Northeast Community Service Center (7200 North Loop East Freeway, 77028)

No appointment is needed, and walk-ins are processed until daily slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 3 pm.

Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis may also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at or visit their website at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

For LGBTQ issues visit: