In 2007, legal scholar Elyn Saks came forward with her story of schizophrenia. She has been able to control the mental illness with medication and therapy, and has stayed out of hospitals for nearly three decades—what she considers one of her greatest accomplishments. “Occupying my mind with complex problems has been my best and most powerful and most reliable defense against my mental illness,” she said. Saks asks that people with mental illness be viewed clearly, honestly and compassionately. “We must stop criminalizing mental illness. It’s a national tragedy and scandal that the L.A. County Jail is the biggest psychiatric facility in the United States,” she said. “Some people still hold [the] view that restraints help psychiatric patients feel safe. I’ve never met a psychiatric patient who agreed.”

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