NAMISCC Report on Crisis Care
As you know, tragedies that occurred in 2016 set off a ground swell of response from the NAMI community.
Many people shared experiences about their family members being unable to get into inpatient psychiatric treatment when experiencing crisis, agitated, confused, suicidal, or aggressive, or of being released before ready. We noted people living with serious mental health challenges in our streets, unable to care for themselves. We knew the jail was housing individuals with severe conditions who would be better treated in an appropriate psychiatric hospital setting. After questioning why this was happening, we formed a Task Force in May 2017 to review the state of Acute Crisis Services in Santa Cruz County.
While what we discovered validated our concerns that many problems existed, we were also encouraged in the responses and meetings with Telecare Corporation, who operates the Behavioral Health Center here in Santa Cruz. They hired new and experienced leadership and made several changes in policies and practices which will result in a much higher standard of care than previously existed.
We discovered many overall systems problems that unfortunately are extremely difficult to overcome, a product of a poor design at the state and national level. The counties in California have an incredible amount of responsibility and authority, but lack both the funding and the State leadership to make substantive changes. We learned why our county has only 16 beds for inpatient care, less than half the average beds per capita in the state of California and less than 25% of the national average. We believe major changes are needed in order to address those under-met needs in our community and communities everywhere in our state.
We encourage residents of our county to read the above informative report. Understanding the problems is a step towards discovering solutions.
NAMI Santa Cruz
The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Santa Cruz County
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