LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – There are more than 300,000 citizens in Michigan who need behavioral health services.

On Thursday, thousands gathered on the capitol lawn to rally for mental health funding and to put an end to the stigma around mental illness and developmental disabilities.

Organizers say the Walk a Mile in My Shoes Rally is put together to spread awareness and educate others and lawmakers about why mental health matters.

“My voice, my life, my way,” a mental health advocate said.

This was one of many war cries heard across the capitol lawn as mental health groups and advocates from throughout the state came together to encourage lawmakers to do their part.

“Not one time have they ever said to us this is how we can produce a better system of care that will ultimately produce better outcomes. Basically, they haven’t told us how they plan to improve the quality of our lives they just keep saying give us the money,” Crisis Intervention Team International President, Kevin Fischer said.

Fischer said his passion for this cause stems from a devastating loss.

“I became a mental health advocate shortly after losing my son Dominque to suicide in 2010 after his brief battle with very serious mental illness.”

For Fischer, mental and behavioral health advocates have to continue their fight to raise awareness and banish stigmas.

“Nobody is going to save us but us and as the old saying goes, nothing about us, without us. These are our lives and our futures that matter,” said Fischer.

Organizers say they hope their efforts to promote mental health and wellness will inspire others to take it more seriously.