I am super excited that Bill Lockyer, the California state treasurer, OK’d $75.3 million in mental health grants. These grants are focused on stabilizing people with severe mental illness before they land in jail or experience multiple hospitalizations. This is a positive step forward for reaching the root of the problem.
I empathize with people who are hospitalized for mental illness because I’ve been in their position before. In my junior year of college, I suffered a mental breakdown and was 51/50. I was in the psych ward for 72 hours. While in there, I attended therapy, created art, socialized with other patients, and shot baskets.
In therapy, I spoke of my problems that lead up to my mental breakdown, and how I avoided my feelings by being ‘busy.’ It was uncomfortable because speaking about my feelings forced me to relieve the memories I suppressed. The more I spoke of them, the easier it was to be open. Group therapy was comforting because I felt less alone by hearing other patients’ problems.
Arts and crafts entertained me. I would draw pictures and write words to describe how I felt. It was cathartic to release my emotions creatively.
I mainly socialized with two patients that were both named Danny. We would play cards, shoot baskets and tell each other stories. One of the mental health workers called us the three amigos. These friendships kept me happy and sane.
Without these services, I wouldn’t be here.I’m glad there will be an increase in mental health services as a result of the grants.