HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The issue of mental health and guns is a topic that just won’t go away. According to mental health professionals, severe mental illness is likely to surface in teen years. 

Cody, now 24, says that the most difficult thing for his parents to do was get attention about his depression while he was in high school. 

Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding mental health still exists. Cody says that he suffered in silence. After the recent mass shootings, he decided to tell his personal story. 

“I’m clinically depressed and it’s a matter of fighting it and dealing with it and what makes me feel better is speaking about it.” Cody said.

As a teenager, Cody had it all. He was the most likely to succeed, the most likely among his classmates and friends to be famous. However, Cody says that he suffered from mental illness in silence.

Not being able to relay how he felt to others, he attempted suicide.  

Cody says that he is still healing, but after the recent mass shootings, his story needs to be told. His parents tried to access mental health care for him as a teenager, but it was very difficult. He was even rejected by his teacher.

“I’m going to fix this, whether it be through a doctor’s help, whether it be through therapy, or whether it be through both,” Cody explained.  

Nick VinZant, a Research Analyst for Lending Tree, told News 19, “When we looked at Alabama, what we found was that there are a high number of people diagnosed with mental health illnesses — and a very difficult time getting care,”

VinZant says that he was not pointing the finger at any one treatment facility, but he knows that it all may be just a part of a systemic issue involving teens and depression that should not be ignored.  

“In the past, mental health was not something that people really talked about and didn’t take seriously enough. Now we are starting to recognize just how prevalent mental illness is in the United States. One out of five people has a diagnosed mental illness. So, there should be no stigma in asking for help because you are not alone,” said VinZant.  

Studies show that Alabama ranks second to last in the U.S. when it comes to access to healthcare. Doctors worry that, coupled with easier access to guns, these health problems could lead to more gun-related issues.