Mental health advocates rally at capitol to tackle mental illness stigma

Austin mental health leaders are working to tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness by spreading awareness.Saturday morning advocates rallied on capitol steps sharing their experiences with mental health in honor of Mental Health Awareness Day.

Angela Santos,15,  bravely stood at the podium and opened up about her struggles with depression and attempts at suicide.

"We need people to say we are human beings, we do have problems but life will get better," Santos said.

According to the University of Texas at Austin, one in five youths ages 13 to 18 experience mental health issues but less than 20-percent seek help.

Former longhorn and NFL quarterback Vince Young spoke about troubles he faced in his childhood and the need to lift children up.

"It don't take one person it takes a village and i want people to understand it takes a village the only way i'm successful is because my community stayed on my butt gave me a bunch a whoopings," Young said with laughter.
Travis County Health and Human Services is working to spread awareness by establishing on site mental health resources in county schools. Christy Kuehn an organizer of the rally said the department is also reaching out to faith based institutions.

"We are telling the kiddos that mental health is treatable it is something you can recover from you can be resilient," Kuehn said.
Multiple advocacy groups and mental health services alongside the Travis County Sheriff's Office are creating services to educate those with mental illness..

Sheriff Sally Hernandez said 33 percent of inmates have mental illness and didn't get help as children.

"The more that we work together the more that we partner the more that we collaborate the better that our community is served," Hernandez said.

More than 200 people attended the rally.