Advocating for the mentally ill has become my life quest, yet the sad truth is that the rule of law does not fully protect this population of people. All to often the rights of individuals living with mental health conditions are infringed upon by elected officials who see the mentally ill as a proxy solution for the gun crisis we face in America. This minority group of society is seen as the perpetrator of violence and crime when data clear articulates the opposite. Yet, the data is ignored, the mental ill are stigmatized, and the only state in the union with the Mental Health Services Act continues to see widespread disparities among those living with mental health challenges. Thus, I’d like to further my mental health advocating abilities by pursuing public interest law.
My story begins when I was in my late teens as the door closed, the lock latched, and I stood there with my hands in my pocket shocked. Tears ran down my dark circled eyes, I looked to my left, then to my right, looking for a place to hide. The weight of the world was on my chest, and suffocating seemed inevitable as the seconds dragged on. That is when the adolescent psychiatrist arrived. It had been 5 nights since I last slept, 3 days since eating, and yes, I had just been voluntarily committed into a mental health outpatient facility. Until these moments, I had never really thought about my family history of mental illness but it soon plagued my mind. I remember my dad’s alcoholism and depression,