When Verdugo Mental Health — the stalwart nonprofit that provides thousands of local clients with counseling and other mental health services — announced that it was bankrupt, the potential for a massive problem began to unfold.
The organization, which has been providing services to the region for decades, is major catch basin for the mentally ill. Without it, thousands of clients would be forced to seek services at less efficient or effective providers. And that’s assuming they would continue to seek services at all, opening up the possibility that illnesses could worsen and compound.
And so the news that another nonprofit — Culver City-based Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services — has offered to step in and take over as Verdugo Mental Health seeks to reorganize brought a welcome sigh of relief.
As Verdugo Mental Health reorganizes its debt in court, Burbank and Glendale unified school districts may end up losing out on all, or some, of the $623,000-judgment they won in June as part of a complaint brought by a consortium of schools regarding services to students. But the alternative — a complete folding of Verdugo Mental Health — would be far worse.
Mental-health-services funding, already decimated by the state, could still get cut further. And mental illness is a health issue that if left unchecked among a population, could compound to manifest in far more expensive ways.