California State Mental Hospitals, 2014 - ongoing
California State Mental Hospitals, is a series of photographs of state-run mental institutions and the neighborhoods in which they coexist in. Pictured are many rundown infrastructures akin to prisons. I examine the architecture in color and black-and-white to capture the juxtaposition of timelessness and contemporary characteristics of structures. After such a tragic event, I spent a lot of time reflecting and questioning leading to my ongoing study of the California mental health system. During this process, I concluded that the lack of mental health support for my brother was not an isolated incident but a part of a much broader systemic issue in the West. According to the 2017 Mental Health America data report, “one out of five adults with a mental illness report they are not able to get the treatment they need”. Due to a lack of funding, state-run facilities in California no longer allow mental health patients to freely walk into their premises and request assistance. Patients who are committed to these institutions are all court ordered; inmates are either waiting to stand trial or serving their sentence or are civilly committed by conservatorship. Statistics show that there are more people with mental illness in prisons than in state-run psychiatric institutions. I will continue working on this body of work to call attention to the problem and highlight common failures within the system.