A group of women and children in the southern California city of Los Angeles are taking their concerns about mental illness to the city’s Department of Health.
They’ve put up an online petition, which calls for more awareness about mental illnesses and the stigma surrounding mental illness.
“If you want to be free, you need a safe space,” says Lauren, a transgender woman who says she’s had mental health issues for years.
“I don’t want to live in a world where I have to hide who I am, or if I’m not feeling well, that’s okay,” says Rachel, who asked to use only her first name because she’s afraid her identity will be used against her in court.
The petition has more than 1,500 signatures.
Linda and Linda were both diagnosed with a mental illness at the age of 18.
They both had physical and emotional difficulties, and Linda said she was in and out of the hospital.
“My mental health is very much a product of what I’ve been through,” says Linda, who said she had trouble getting help from her mental health provider.
Liz said she’s also worried about the stigma around mental health.
“For so long, I was a closeted person,” she said.
“I don- I don’t feel like I have a place where I can go out and express myself.
I feel like, at some point, I’m going to be judged.
I’m just like everyone else.”
The group of young people started the petition on Saturday to ask the city to do more to help them.
Lissette has had some experience dealing with mental illness herself.
Her father, an Air Force veteran, was diagnosed with PTSD in 2014 and died at age 43.
“There’s no one that’s going to tell you it’s your problem,” says Lissette.
“But I feel that we’re being judged more and more for having mental illness.”
They’ve also received support from a local mental health advocacy group.
“We have a lot of support from other groups that are working on mental health,” says Barbara, the group’s director.
“It’s something that we know is an issue and it’s something we’re trying to be a part of.”
The petition calls on the city and the state to pass a bill that would require employers to report mental illness symptoms to the state.
The petition also requests that mental health professionals be given access to confidential, protected mental health information and to have access to the names of individuals who have been diagnosed with mental health disorders.
If you have any questions about mental disease, please call our hotline at 1-877-488-8255.