GOP bill could have far-reaching consequences for those who struggle with mental illness

I have struggled with mental health since I was very young. At age 4, my mother would pry knives from my chubby kid fingers whenever I’d try to kill myself. I’ve had auditory and visual hallucinations since as long as I can remember. At age 14, my depression and anxiety became so bad I began self-harming, sometimes without my control. Over a year ago, I had to drop out of college because my depression was overwhelming me to the point I couldn’t get out of bed. When my family found my suicide note, my therapist suggested residential treatment.

Since then, I have attended partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient care, and am currently in dialectical behavior therapy. I have always assumed I would kill myself before I was 25. Now, I finally have hope that I might be OK. Unfortunately, none of my progress would have possible if Medicaid were not available. Without Medicaid, I would have never been able to receive the care needed to overcome my severe depression.

If I lose access to coverage, I’ll no longer be able to afford the medications, therapists, psychiatrists, and programs that are necessary for living with a mental illness. Without that care, I could relapse and die, and for the first time in over 15 years, I don’t want to. The Republicans’ new health care program could have far-reaching and terminal consequences for those like me who struggle with mental illness.

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