Rui Bianco was both a patient and a nurse. He is now working to spread his awareness of the growing problem.
YORK, PA — “I was diagnosed with a mental illness early in high school.” Luis Bianco of Cumberland County was just 15 when his world suddenly changed.
“I was the captain of the wrestling team, and in eighth grade I was the lead in the school play. I had to do my schoolwork, I’ll follow my classmates,” Bianco said.
He wasn’t expected to finish high school, but he did. Louis graduated from college with a nursing degree.
“I started working at the same facility where I was a patient when I was younger. I learned a lot of important information when I was in the hospital after losing everything I was aiming for. [I figured] Why can’t the public be taught this so they can avoid that crisis,” Bianco told FOX43.
He embarked on what he calls his life’s mission to improve the mental health system by educating others.
For the past decade, Bianco has participated in panels in colleges and high schools on how to increase mental wellness education in schools.
He has spoken to future police officers, lawyers, and teachers in many places, has written three mental wellness books in three years, and is currently the Cumberland/Perry Mental Health, Intellectual and Developmental Disorders Commissioner for Mental Health. I am chairing the committee.
Bianco has also worked with York University nursing students in a simulation lab, acting as a patient in various mental health scenarios.
“I’ve been on the patient side, so I’m good at what I do,” he said.
With the demand for more mental health care continuing to grow nationwide, Louis says he’s not giving up anytime soon.
“This job is hard and more people need help, so that’s what I’m doing. As a nurse and as someone with a mental illness, I need that,” Bianco said. said.
“My life depends on it and it is also my life’s work. What we see requires more than just recognition. We are seeing a mental health crisis among our youth and our entire population,” he continued.
That selfless way of thinking earned him a Jefferson Award nomination.
“I am very happy and honored that someone saw it and nominated me to be a finalist,” Lewis said happily.
If you would like to learn more about Lewis’ mental health advocacy work, you can contact him here.
Click here for more information on the Jefferson Awards.
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