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  • Writer's pictureCatherine J Rippee-Hanson

Message from Family Advocates: Supporting Proposition 1 in California and Senate Bill 43

by Catherine J Rippee-Hanson

In January 2024, my twin sister Linda (Rippee) Privatte participated in a rally at the California state capitol.

Every day, we strive to advocate for our loved ones with serious mental illness or brain disorders. We are not alone. Many others share our commitment to making a difference in the lives of those affected. Like a relay race, where each person passes the baton to the next, we have created a continuous chain of support and advocacy. Together, we are transforming the narrative surrounding mental health, raising awareness, advocating for better resources, and providing support to those in need.

As we march "ever forward," and hope a change is finally coming, we honor each other as family members who had no choice but to advocate for those with serious mental illness. We're all different, but we've got one goal in common. We're constantly stepping out of our comfort zones. Marching in rallies, lobbying politicians, meeting with journalists, and learning how legislation gets passed. Sharing our stories unapologetically so the many deaths our outdated laws cause don't pass unnoticed. It is not for political reasons, but very up close and personable experiences that we fight to make the lives of those around us better. We also want to make sure no one else suffers the same losses as we have.

We have different backgrounds... an author, a teacher, a writer, an antique dealer, a social worker, a singer, an artist, a parent, a brother or sister. We come together to speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves. We fight for their rights and fight for a better future. We won't stop until there is true progress.

Who are these "family advocates?"

We are individuals who have witnessed firsthand the struggles and challenges faced by our loved ones. Through our personal experiences and the desire to make a difference, we have become advocates for those with serious mental illness or brain disorders.

How did we become advocates for mental illness?

Our journeys are often deeply personal, shaped by the love and concern we have for our loved ones. We have witnessed the effects of inadequate support systems, limited access to resources, and a lack of understanding and acceptance in society. This has driven us to take action and fight for improved mental health services.

Our message is loud and clear.

We hold the belief that no one should face mental illness alone. We take pride in creating a world where individuals affected by mental illness receive the care, support, and treatment they need. We believe that our loved ones deserve a bed and access to care. We believe that stigma and discrimination should be replaced with compassion and understanding. We're tired of crying over our loved ones who died on the streets because society turned a blind eye to them.

Proposition 1 in California and Senate Bill 43 align with our values and aspirations.

These measures aim to provide critical funding for mental health services, expand access to treatment, and improve quality of care. By supporting these initiatives, we send a message that the mental health of the most vulnerable population is a priority. We are committed to making a difference. Nothing is more important to us.

Together, we are a powerful force for change. We are family advocates united in our quest to create a more compassionate and inclusive society. Together, we are making a difference for your loved one who may one day face serious mental illness. There's no one who fights like a family advocate or a curbside caregiver. Together, our voices are louder, our strength is greater, and our impact is longer lasting. We are a force to be reckoned with. We are family advocates.

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