It was a warm, sunny day in June.
It was July 5, a few days after a massive wildfire devastated much of southern California.
For months, Grace Clinices had been running a clinic in an industrial park in Ventura, California, where a steady stream of people came in to get checked out.
A handful of patients with serious health problems would be turned away.
But then, as the heat grew hotter, the clinic started to get busy.
Now, on the afternoon of July 6, a patient walked into the clinic’s emergency room and told the staff that he was in pain, and needed to see a doctor.
Grace’s response: If you want to talk about pain, call the ER.
Grace was not a physician, but she was known in the community as a passionate advocate.
She had been practicing for 20 years and had become a trusted face in the local community for her advocacy on behalf of people who are living with chronic conditions.
For a few hours, she sat in the emergency room waiting for a nurse to arrive.
She didn’t say a word.
A few minutes later, the nurse came out of the room.
She was waiting to take the first of several tests that Grace would have to do as part of her plan to open a clinic for people with serious illnesses.
The nurse asked for Grace’s phone number.
She said she’d call Grace at the clinic at 9 a.m.
That would be her first appointment with the clinic.
But as Grace walked toward the front door, a car pulled up next to her.
“I was in shock,” she told me.
“I was just like, ‘What is going on?
Why is this happening?’
Gracie’s story is typical.
The same kind of story is told by many people who live in Southern California, and it’s also a common one for people who struggle with mental illness.
It’s common for people to be reluctant to talk with people about their condition, often because of fear of being stigmatized or getting worse, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a national nonprofit that advocates for the health of people with mental illnesses.
In the first half of 2016, mental illness was the third-leading cause of death for people aged 18 to 64, according the National Center for Health Statistics.
The epidemic is getting worse every day, with a total of 4.3 million people in the U.S. currently living with mental health issues, according a 2015 report from the National Institute of Mental Health.
More than 70 percent of those living with psychiatric illnesses were male, and nearly half were Hispanic.
The numbers are higher for black people.
In the past 10 years, the number of white people living with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression has increased by nearly 2,000 percent.
The number of black people living in severe mental illnesses increased by more than 30 percent between 2000 and 2015.
In California, there were nearly 2 million people living as severely mentally ill.
Gracia’s story illustrates the problems people who have severe mental illness face in a state that has had some of the strictest restrictions on mental health in the nation.
The state also has one of the highest rates of substance abuse and dependence in the country.
In the early 2000s, the state passed a law mandating that any person who was experiencing symptoms of mental illness had to get a mental health evaluation.
People with serious mental illness are denied access to mental health services for two weeks after the assessment.
They also cannot take medication, even though some people who need medication can use it to manage symptoms.
The law also requires people with severe mental health problems to stay in the hospital and receive a “continuous monitoring plan” that has a doctor in every hospital room and requires that people with an open medical condition be monitored.
The goal is to prevent people from falling through the cracks.
Many of the people in Grace’s situation don’t have insurance, and Grace says she doesn’t think anyone else is.
She told me that the insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross, had asked her not to get health insurance because of the bill she’d had on her bill.
She couldn’t afford it.
So when she tried to get coverage from Anthem, she found out that it was only a one-time payment.
She has been denied insurance for years because of her mental health history.
Her husband lost his job in 2014.
She can’t afford the bills, so she takes time off work.
In May of this year, she and her husband decided to get help for their daughter, who was in the midst of learning to speak English and wanted to go to college.
Grice says that she’s grateful that the ACA is making things easier for people living or struggling with mental issues.
She also hopes that Congress will pass new legislation that would allow people who suffer from mental health conditions to seek help from an outside provider.”
It’s not about the bill,” she said