Trans teen Andrew Martinez committed suicide last month in the city of Los Angeles.
The family of a transgender teenager, who spent much of his life in mental care before dying from suicide, has demanded that the Los Angeles County improves mental health services for LGTBI youth in foster homes.
Andrew Martinez was only 19 when he took his own life three months after being hospitalized for an overdose.
But his family claims that the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) did not help him access mental health treatment.
His mother appeared before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors at a meeting last week and described how she had tried to request mental health treatment for her son.
“You took my child away from me alive, and now I’m planning his funeral?” said Andrew’s bereaved mother, Abigail Martinez according to Witness LA newspaper.
“You didn’t focus on his mental health,” she said. “I request that even in court. I requested every time I went, just to focus on his mental health. He didn’t have any treatment. At all.”
Three months before his suicide, the teen’s mother said, Andrew was in the hospital for an overdose. Social workers, she said, chose to send him home alone. “Why was he sent back home alone? Why? Why did they do that? He was not capable to be alone.”
Martinez’s aunt was also at the meeting and told the board that she had been trying to take her nephew in, but that she was waiting for DCFS approval. Claudia said. “We did everything that was required to get our home certified by the state, the county, and the department.” But they were “still waiting” for approval.
“Despite his battle with depression,” says a GoFundMe campaign in Andrew’s honor, “he helped give words of encouragement and helped so many of his friends who are alive today because of that.”
The GoFundMe page requests donations for Andrew’s funeral and for community organizations focused on mental health.