Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Best mental health services on the west coast (US)?


#1

Last year, my kids and I moved hundreds of miles from home so my daughter with special needs could attend a special ed school. A few months into her new school, she had a psychotic break, was diagnosed with early-onset schizophrenia, and is now on meds and is doing OK. She can’t go to school because she is so overwhelmed by noise and other kids. The school was the reason for us to be in this town, so I want to move again to be within a 30 minute drive of really good mental health services. I’ve called so many people and places and the reality of inadequate services for SMI is truly heart breaking. If you live in a city where you can get services for your loved one (NAMI meetings, inpatient/outpatient mental health support, etc.), and you think you can set up your loved one in health and safety after you are gone, please let me know. (We are not eligible for Medicaid, and most services where we live won’t take private insurance.) Thank you.


#2

We move a lot for my husbands work.

Let me explain in this way:

He was seen first in WA state, they noticed what was scz, biopolar, or autism…without the cycling component. “We need to watch this”. He was 3. Early Intervention, etc…many doctors, some who came to our house to observe. (Great doctor to do that!! He had dinner with us too!!)

5 more doctors…and now we’re in UT. Things are changing fast with our boy, and now he’s actively delusional. This doctor says “oh crap…this is scz, it’s clear, get him the best help you can and do it NOW. No more waiting and watching…no more annual visits…get him in now.” Okay, school was already saying the same thing. But, we’re moving to TX (at that time, TX ranked below Guam in mental health care.)

We have private insurance, so off to TX and a very expensive pdoc for children. He doesn’t want to dx too early, but hells bells, it’s early onset…he says can he put another vague term down and we’ll continue to watch, but come in every week for what seemed like years. ER visits, etc…since then,

We’ve been to: NB, WA (five times), CA (twice), TX (twice), MI, KY, UT…and several other states I can’t remember now.

So far?

California for med care… KY a very close second (they excel in educational support).

In California, we are in Los Angeles. This is our second time here.
UCI Med Center
Dr. Sofani re-evalutated him, and took over a year to do so. He truly analyzed everything.
Dr. Brockman became his therapist, and still see’s him as a med specialist now.
He undergoes a NeuroPsych Eval this Friday with Dr. Hom
NAMI ftf meets at UCI first and third Tuesday of the month.

Kentucky was great too…educationally they did all they could.
We were in Lexington.
Beaumont Behavioral Health
Southern Middle School (public school and HomeBound)
Finding a pdoc for children was hard here though.

We usually have Anthem/United Health Care PPO through my husband’s employer. We had Humana at one point…they stink. Anthem could be difficult at times, in the beginning. (TX…I had a phone glued to my ear with those folks. KNOW your coverage.) Now, I love Anthem, as do the facilities we use. We’ve had state health during times of unemployment…thankfully very brief.

The most cost has been periods of time without insurance. Our boys meds run $2000 per month…just the meds. Other times were when the copays added up due to crisis periods…the “small” amounts can grow quickly when you’re back in the doc every few days. NB was the most difficult. There is very little support in any way beyond what the local churches offer by the way of food. (You don’t need food when in crisis…you need a psych…in NB they used “Skype” with a pdoc hours away and who appeared bored. They take great pride in being the only state with a balanced budget…it’s partially because there is very little support provided to anyone under/uninsured.)

Right now, husband negotiated a better insurance with Anthem Blue Cross/Shield. It’s not so bad…they cover a great deal. IF you can get a main company based out of the UK or Australia for your employer, they cover much more. (We found this out, his Aussie employer covers 75% of the insurance cost…HUGE savings for us.)

Academically, he’s been public schooled in most of these states. The people in WA had a great heart and worked hard with him in Early Intervention. (They got him to stop screaming in the bathroom and capable tof attending regular classes.) UT stunk…NB did as little as possible and made things worse in many ways. California rocks with the mental health team…academically (and this is my home state) they recommended that he stay at home and focus on his mental health care. (The state is swamped, we’re in Los Angeles.) KY was by far, the most generous with their time/attention and willingness in the realm of public school and psych care. KY will come to your house too.

I hope this helps a bit…
I’ve been quiet lately, dealing with some health things for myself. I apologize for this not being as chatty or well written as I usually try for. I have a migraine from the medication side affect. (I’m just glad/hope that this med is actually working.)

For those who are following…son is doing really well right now. Not leaps and bounds, but it’s mellow right now. He is still focused on drawing and writing…as much as he can. The sleepiness returned, it’s just flipped. (His night is day, etc.)

Dx at this time with Early Onset Childhood Scz. They are considering that there may be an autism component as well. Current meds: Seroquel, Clonidine, Sertraline, Hydroxyzine.

S.


#3

Thank you, Squid! I’m glad your CA experience is good. I grew up in Pasadena and Newport Beach, and would move back for the right reasons. University hospitals were recommended to me on another forum, although none specifically, and you say UCI is good, so I’m seeing a pattern. I added the doctors’ names to my file called “Where To Live?”


#4

I would second a move to Cali. Good university hospitals, research.Plus, it’s California🌞, right?