FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Mental health advocates are returning to the Valley after spending almost a week in Sacramento.
NAMI California, which stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness, wrapped up its annual conference.
The Central Valley continues to battle a mental health crisis.
A crisis that -- some experts believe - will only improve once it becomes a regular topic of conversation without a stigma surrounding it, and once access becomes available to more resources.
"It is really hard to admit that you're struggling, but we all struggle," said Dr. Amy Parks. "We all have challenges. Everybody has mental health, it's just as important as physical health."
Parks, NAMI Fresno's executive director, spent last week at the State Capitol raising awareness about mental health -- but she wasn't alone.
A dozen students from Justin Garza, Riverdale and Madera South high schools joined NAMI Fresno for the Youth Summit.
"They're just so much more comfortable in speaking their truth and talking about what is happening for them," Parks said.
The students spoke to lawmakers about their own experiences with mental illnesses and what they're seeing other young people deal with.
Most importantly, they provided suggestions on what they believe can help make a difference.
"Incorporating mental health education into our curriculum in schools -- having it be part of health class," said Parks. "We learn all about other kinds of health issues in our schools. So why not incorporate mental health education as well?"
According to the group, lawmakers took the time to listen to their concerns and suggestions - and they're hoping positive change will come out of the visit.