searching for mental health residential resources in California very depressing

Hi everyone,

So this afternoon I spent a lot of time browsing the internet and on the phone to various places in CA trying to find residential living options for my friend who is still inpatient. She can only stay there for up to two weeks though. The hospital social worker, from my friend’s description, does seem genuine, is totally lost on anything residential that could be useful. Which is really sad to know she’s a social worker, versed supposedly in discharging people to various resources and she doesn’t know what to do.

In talking to my friend I found out that she doesn’t even have Medicaid because she’s visually impaired as I am, and no one will help her fill out the print forms. That’s just beyond terrible I mean that accessibility is the reason she has no medical. She does have medicare, but I guess isn’t able to get mental health services from that or they’ve given her too much of a run around or something. It is good they’ve paid for her hospital stays and meds at least. After her last hospital stay she was referred to county behavioral health but given the run around there too and no advocacy or help.

So she’s really struggling. Having her go back to her apartment from the hospital really isn’t a positive option unless she can get services basically right away.

I discovered that there really is no middle ground with residential services in Sacramento or actually the whole state of CA.

They have these board and care homes. Which from what I understand basically anyone can get a license to operate a home and have I don’t know how many people in it. They say they’re licensed but there seems to be no organization monitoring these places. My friend has been in several and all were horrible. With insects, really bad food as in not nutritious/ healthy at all, abusive staff ETC. She was actually disascharged to one after her last hospital stay and managed to run away back to her apartment. I’m kinda horrified that this unregulated option is the bulk of residential services provided. It seems there’s no real care or services in these homes at all with trained providers or anything. From what she’s said they’re out to make money, which I’m not usually that cynical but in this case it could be true. From what I’ve heard group homes in IL aren’t that great but at least they’re licensed and regulated by big mental health agencys and people there are getting services and care. It may not be the best but there’s a system in place. If I’m wrong please correct me. If anyone could point me to any solid well run board and care homes I’d be open to looking into it. I need all the options I can get at this point.

On the opposite extreme, I was looking at these places called Psychiatric rehabilitation treatment centers, nthat seemed to provide pretty solid therapy and supports for up to a year or so. I was particularly excited about one called crestwood with several locations, did that WRAP and DBT therapies and generally seemed really good.

Well first of all the woman I left a voicemail for, her voicemail recording was a lot nicer than her actual voice. She sounded bored and not that friendly. I started by saying how awesome I thought their center was and about my friend’s situation and she cut me off and asked if my friend was under a conservatorship. I said I didn’t know what that was. She said it’s a court order. I said no she wasn’t. Apparently all these nice sounding places are locked facilities where you’re court ordered to go there. I was not happy and very shocked. I guess they have to make them sound good.

It still baffles me that there is no middle ground in this system between, unregulated poorly run homes and court ordered locked placements.

I did talk to one woman who was compassionate and caring. I’ll talk about her place separately in another post. She said if I found out what county my friend was in she’d give me numbers for her to get set up with a patient advocate which she said is the starting point to navigate all these services. I’m just not optimistic about these outpatient services if the residential side is this complicated, and if no one could be bothered to help her even fill out forms for Medicaid. This woman made my day though with her really cool unique approach to mental health recovery and her caring nature.

If anyone has any thoughts at all please comment. Another friend thinks the best option would be to have her move to another state with better services. She lives in Denver Colorado and says the services are better out there. I’m not sure about moving straight from the hospital but maybe if she can get set up with some kinda services at her apartment until we can find something solid in another state that could be a possibility.

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