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Esteban Banuelos
Esteban Banuelos

On behalf of Esteban Banuelos, we are urgently seeking support to advocate for his release and access to essential mental health treatment.

Esteban’s Partner, Lisette, shares:

My partner, Esteban Banuelos, has been enduring the profound effects of mental illness following a traumatic brain injury sustained four years ago in a car accident. Despite the initial prognosis of significant life changes, we couldn’t have fathomed the extent to which our lives would be altered.

Esteban’s behavioral and mental health challenges have profoundly impacted us all. Unable to work or lead a semblance of a normal life, he relies on disability benefits and long-term medication to navigate daily existence. Prior to the accident, Esteban was a law-abiding citizen, a devoted father, and provider for our family.

Since the accident, his behavior has become increasingly erratic, punctuated by episodes that necessitated urgent intervention. We sought help from Enki Mental Health Services, where he was diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder. Despite diligent efforts to stabilize him with medication, his condition worsened, leading to repeated hospitalizations and adjustments to his treatment plan.

Recognizing the severity of his condition, we advocated for conservatorship to facilitate his participation in intensive treatment programs. However, our pleas were met with resistance, and Esteban’s mental health continued to deteriorate. Tragically, his vulnerability led him into a situation where he was taken advantage of by individuals claiming to be friends, resulting in criminal charges.

Despite presenting comprehensive evidence of Esteban’s mental health struggles, including letters from medical professionals, our requests for mental health diversion have been denied by both the judge and the district attorney. We firmly believe that Esteban’s rights as a person with disabilities are being infringed upon; he should not be treated as a typical offender when he is in dire need of psychiatric care.

Esteban has already endured eight months in county jail and is currently on house arrest awaiting further legal proceedings. The district attorney’s insistence on prison time is unjust and ignores the fundamental need for mental health support. Esteban’s next hearing is scheduled for April 3rd, where he faces pressure to accept a deal that would result in further consequences instead of the preferred path of medical diversion.

We implore you to join us in our fight for Esteban’s well-being. What he needs is compassionate care, consistent medication, and therapy. His future hangs in the balance, and it’s imperative that we rally behind him to ensure he receives the support he desperately requires.

Sign the petition supporting justice for Esteban here:

Petition · Justice for Esteban: Support Mental Health Diversion, Not A Criminal Record – United States · Change.org

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