“The average amount of time for ER boarding of psychiatric patients in California is 10 hours. Using the Alameda Model, the time was reduced over 80 percent to 1 hour 48 minutes.”
There is a crisis in Mental Health Care in this country, and especially in Alameda County.
Many of us have been dealing with this situation for years, if not decades, and we have had little help from the Alameda County Mental Health System. This is endangering our loved ones and others, and has been going on for far too long.
I’ve been seeking treatment for my adult schizophrenic son for nine years. He’s still on the streets, getting no help or treatment and getting more and more agitated and delusional. I fear he’ll end up in prison where he’ll get no help at all.
I have many concerns and am furious at the lack of available treatment for those who can’t realize they are sick and continue to spiral down into psychosis, are taken to John George Psychiatric Pavilion (if not to jail), kept a short time, and released with no follow-up when they are clearly very, very ill. The reason given to us family members (when any is given at all) can range from lack of proper insurance to lack of available beds to “they’re not a threat to themselves or others”.
Since Prop 63 has raised billions of dollars since it was passed in 2004, why aren’t there more in-house treatment beds available? When we’ve asked Alameda County Behavioral Health Care employees, we’ve been told things are “on hold” because of management vacancies, that Prop 63 funds can’t be used for involuntary treatment, even for the Seriously Mentally Ill, and that new plans are “in progress”. We family members are left having to accept whatever is decided behind closed doors. If you look around at the streets in Alameda County, you’ll see it isn’t enough.
I also heard Dr. Scott Zeller (then head of Emergency Services at John George) speak at a NAMI meeting last year where he assured NAMI attendees (again mostly moms) that the PES (ER waiting room) at John George was great, terrific, caring, etc. Unfortunately, most of the attendees have had our loved ones in that waiting room and we’d seen it with our own eyes. Candy DeWitt, a founding member of Voices of Mothers and Others confronted him on the need for longer treatment and stabilization for our SMI ones and his response was “That’s not my department”. Dr. Zellner has moved on in his career, still touting “The Alameda Model” which he instituted at John George to “reduce costs”.
Reading his result statistic now is laughable (a less than two-hour wait for treatment) when the reality is many patients sleep on the floor and are usually released after about 72 hours unless they have attempted suicide or some other endangering act.