To the editor: The haunting photo of the anonymous cloaked figure featured in the article about local psychiatric departments struck me deeply. ("Time stands still outside county psychiatric units," July 4)
I was once that person. I know the agony of endless hours of waiting for basic treatment. I managed to survive and begin a successful treatment of my bipolar illness. I urge your readers and exhausted family caregivers not to give up on treating these most challenging patients.
Time doesn't always stand still. Indeed, healing can start with the involuntary 5150 hold.
Kyle Kimbrell, Playa del Rey
To the editor: What if a patient experiencing a mental health crisis could bypass the emergency room and receive the right care in the right place?
While there is no argument that demand is increasing, as your recent article demonstrated, California is on the cusp of creating responsive crisis services.
Counties are building crisis care units, deploying mobile triage services and staffing up thanks to more than $200 million in grant funding. This investment comes on the heels of years of cuts, resulting in the dire situation we find ourselves in today.
Los Angeles will soon have 35 new crisis residential programs with 560 beds offering crisis stabilization and other services. The Los Angeles Police Department's mental health evaluation unit is expanding, adding 42 teams countywide.
We have seen up close the detrimental effects of cutting funding for mental health services; we know what is at stake.
We cannot let up in our efforts to ensure that these services are available.
Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento