Why do you serve as a CIP? Because my entire life I’ve been told that I couldn’t do things. I couldn’t get services because I wasn’t “disabled enough.” I couldn’t graduate on time because I wasn’t “motivated” enough. I couldn’t get a job because I would be “too much work to train.” I couldn’t go to college because my grades didn’t reflect my “full potential.” I have been called lazy and manipulative and a liar and a cheater my entire life by teachers, potential employers, doctors, and everyone who refused to help me when I was at my lowest. My parents taught me how to be a self-advocate and to push back against the people who didn’t believe in me. Today, I fight for other kids to have better childhood experiences than I did.
Why is it important? As a kid, I never believed in myself. It’s still hard today for me to believe that I can do something. But through access to mental health services and the support of my friends and family, I’ve been pushing towards a better future. I want to make sure other kids get that future, too.
What is one personal goal? I’d like mental health care to be affordable and accessible to everyone, regardless of race, gender, sex, age, or social class.
What is your number one goal for systems change? The reduction of stigma around mental health as well as the push for access to all.
Family: Two parents, a brother, and a long term girlfriend.