The Nightmare that is California's Mental Health Care System

This morning I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and came across an article from an old friend of mine Steve about a member of his family and it broke my heart. What is even sadder is how often I come across articles like this everyday. I personally know people who have faced similar issues here in California. The California Mental Health Care system is so underfunded, outdated and scary. Going to a psychiatric hospital is almost as bad as jail due to the poor conditions, lack of staff and underfunding. Don't believe me? Volunteer for an hour at one and tell me you'd leave a loved one there for a day. 

The fact that someone who does not have control over their brain should be in jail while trying to get healthy is horrific. Mental illness is just as scary and real as a physical illness with requires love, caring and a warm environment not a prison cell to heal. Would you put a cancer patient in jail because they had a reaction to chemotherapy? Or someone who did not know they were at risk for seizures in prison for getting in a car accident?

I have to praise the judge for understanding. Sara Feldman was able to plead no contest, and the judge delayed sentencing for three years on one condition: every six months, she has to bring doctor’s statements to court to “prove that she’s OK, she’s still visiting her doctors and taking her meds,”. After three years, the charges will be dropped. I love this because she should be visiting her doctors and taking her medications regularly. Instead of punishing her, the judge is encouraging her to continue treatment and checking in on her. 

I have to give a shout out to the State of Michigan. The University of Michigan has a world renowned Depression Center that offers counseling, medication, support groups, education and research for several mental illnesses including the Pretcher Bipolar Study which I have been a part of for years. The care and treatment I received there was beyond words and I will be eternally grateful for the changes the care there brought to my life as well as the support my family received. 

Please read this article and if you can afford to donate to the link at the bottom of the article. Every dollar counts towards Sara getting healthy and returning to her family. 

Thank you for reading. Remember to breath, smile that it's a new day and know that you are loved. 

Stacy SmithComment