Imagining how Andrew Holland felt

February 28, 2017

Sarah Jakle

Letter to the editor by Sarah Jakle

I was diagnosed with rapid cycling and mixed state bipolar disorder in 1997, at age 22. I felt like something was trying to claw its way out of my body, which I would try to throw out of me in tears that were never enough. Suicidal thoughts hunted me these last 20 years; I’ve been 5150’d many times.

I also received a Master in Public Policy from UCLA in 2004 and a Master in Social Work from USC in 2011, the latter with a 4.0 GPA. I volunteered, then, working with homeless individuals with mental illness and as a program director for NAMI, Westside LA.

I also helped “Laura’s Law” pass in Los Angeles County. I am happily married, and indeed, happy. That is a hard-won word.

I imagine Andrew Holland felt things trying to claw out from inside. And I also imagine Andrew Holland could have gotten a masters degree. I imagine Andrew Holland could have gotten married.

And, without your article, I imagine his murder would have gone unnoticed, like so many other mental health murders in jail.

Thank you so much for your article. True, I am crying as I write this, but I am so damn grateful I know to cry.

Also, you answered a question: My psychiatrist told me not to protest due to the risk of getting arrested, while I argued I refused to let my mental illness silence me. From your article, I now realize the true risks of getting arrested, and will confine my activism to less public demonstrations. I will fight just as hard, but not inanely risk the fate of Mr. Holland. So you may have saved a life.

Thank you again; you make me proud of journalism.







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9 Comments

  1. LAH says:

    Thank you Sarah!!
    You are an Intelligent, Brave young Woman! I have nothing but respect for you! Thank you for speaking out. Everyone knows someone with a Mental Illness, Our friends, Family, people we love….Thank you for being brave and honest about your own. And Showing that you are accomplishing …not hiding…Thank you, for your letter, it may be saving even more lives…You told it right, ”

    “My psychiatrist told me not to protest due to the risk of getting arrested, while I argued I refused to let my mental illness silence me. From your article, I now realize the true risks of getting arrested, and will confine my activism to less public demonstrations. I will fight just as hard, but not inanely risk the fate of Mr. Holland. So you may have saved a life. ”

    Our system is broken….They denied Andrew his meds, then punished him for it. They refused to give him appropriate treatment, then charged him with crimes for contesting?

    How do we fight so there are changes made? How do we contest so someone hears?
    REMEMBER ANDREW HOLLAND!
    We will NEVER forget!

    (16) 18 Total Votes - 17 up - 1 down
  2. Scarlet says:

    Thank you for this, Sarah.

    (15) 21 Total Votes - 18 up - 3 down
  3. tidepool says:

    I hope the investigation will bring to light the gross negligence in upper management of Slo County’s broken mental health services starting with Dr Daisy Illano and Judy Vick who are paid inflated wages to sit in their ivory tower and refuse the needs of those who wind up in the jail. They should be held liable!!!

    (19) 25 Total Votes - 22 up - 3 down
    • TWEEKSBALMER says:

      More is broken than just the mental health department.

      (8) 16 Total Votes - 12 up - 4 down
    • givemeabreak says:

      You forgot Idee Shapiro out at the jail. Now that is someone that needs FLUISHING. Look into her involvement at the jail. Might also want to find out just how she ended up at the county jail. And she is not an imate but one of those high and might LMFT’s! NOT a pretty picture.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  4. Jorge Estrada says:

    Our culture definitely needs a change. We can start by disallowing financial compensation and require better training so that negligence falls on the employee, punishable only by jail time. Sure Andrew will be remembered but unless the taxpayers quit being responsible for wrongful acts of our employees nothing is ever corrected. Wake up it’s 2017 yet stupidity continues to be well paid and or at least attempted to get paid.

    (12) 18 Total Votes - 15 up - 3 down
    • L.A.RamsFan says:

      “…unless the taxpayers quit being responsible…” I want to rewrite that a bit there Jorge to what it should say…

      “Unless the taxpayer starts acting in a responsible manner this type of crap will continue.”

      It doesn’t always have to boil down to money Jorge, sometimes it has more to do with making the community whole and healthy again.

      I love community pride; you know the type that sees to it that you know and are concerned about your neighbor and or the one that takes pride in its involvement in the issues that affect all of its inhabitants.

      SLO, on the other hand, is all clean, well manicured with the latest low maintenance/water landscapes, the best paint schemes and the latest hybrid in the driveway while everything past their portion of the sidewalk could go to hell in a handbasket and they’d be as content and happy is if their world ended at their property line.

      You got no heart, SLO! None!

      -Remember Andrew Holland-

      (6) 14 Total Votes - 10 up - 4 down
  5. Pelican1 says:

    This should be viewed as the canary in the coal mine. Our correctional and medical system is broken.The detainees at GITMO have been treated better than this young man ever was .Wake up people, this could have been YOUR son or daughter.
    Disgusting

    (47) 53 Total Votes - 50 up - 3 down
  6. L.A.RamsFan says:

    This is the community of San Luis Obispo County’s problem now, not yours! Your dues have been paid…

    It’s the community of SLO’s responsibility that this will be the last time they read of another human being’s death because of apathy and ignorance by its population. Maybe they’ll “grow a pair” now that a recognized and respected person of the community has suffered greatly; it’s a sad commentary to be sure but if it stops this kind of shit at least Andrew Holland’s death isn’t in vain.

    Sarah, you’re a brave human being and I can only hope your letter can elicit a meaningful response in a manner that the whole community can benefit from, but especially those that seem to be the brunt of most of its population ire, the mentally ill. Just like us, they are worthy of being recognized as human beings; persons who deserve our support and our respect.

    -Remember Andrew Holland-

    (37) 57 Total Votes - 47 up - 10 down

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