Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Family support question


#1

What is the situation like in the States? Are family expected to bridge the gaps in mental health provision as they increasingly are here in the UK?
Here if you are chronically mentally ill you are pretty much left to your own devices.
It is hard if the mentally ill loved one and family don’t live near each other.


#2

Yes, funding for mental health services keeps getting cut more and more, and staff is stretched way beyond their limits. End result is that only clients who really want to work with the system get services, and many who need services but don’t understand their need just are left for families to try to support as best they can.


#3

My son has been ill for 12 years, since he was 15. In the past year, we’ve been working with our county mental health department, and they have lots of services if he would take advantage of them.

I have a friend with a 21-year-old son that still lives at home. He has been in the county system longer than my son. He has a case manager that comes to the house to talk to him, has picked him up to go apply for jobs, etc., and other people have told me their county mental health department sends case management out to the home to give them their meds daily.

So, I think, depending on where you live in the States, there’s plenty of support if you know where to look for it, and you’re willing to accept it. However, there are still many people who need help and don’t get it.


#4

@firemonkey sadly yes, the support options here are limited, obscure and complicated to navigate


#5

Hi Firemonkey,

Every one of the fifty US states provides or does not provide different services. Different counties in each state provide different sercices.

There is a ranking and the state where we live is always ranked in the bottom three for mental health services.

There is almost nothing here, but a small percentage of people with severe mental illness, from what I can tell less than ten percent, in the county where we live do have good case management and other services. Some housing is available after years of waiting. There are no long term hospitals (more than a few days to a few weeks) or residential care. Lots and lots of people with mental illness are in jail or prison and of course there is a growing homeless population, many of whom have severe and persistent mental illness. The state mental hospital routinely discharges people to homeless shelters.

The UK, even with cuts, is so much better than this state that the two could not even compare.


#6

I would have to say that yes it’s up to families to manage the best we can. It is hard at times and impossible at times but you will get a good day every now and then.


#7

There is a day program 45 minutes way that lasts a couple of hours. I take my son on my day off. They have to want to go but ours offer therapy.


#8

This would be beneficial to me and my son. Do you know how I can go about checking into this?


#9

Here, it’s the county mental health services that does it.
This is a link to their website - maybe it will help you find something similar in your area?
http://www.chesterfield.gov/csb/

I know that my county has this and so does at least one neighboring county here, and I’ve talked to people online in other states that have similar things. I stayed away from the county for so long because we have private health insurance & I was worried about the level of care there. Things move very slowly because it is government ran, but they do care & do a really good job.

Best of all, if he had no insurance and no income, his visits would only be $1.18. They also have a pharmacy there that my aunt used once. She only got the basics because it was for depression while she had cancer, but they only charged her $1 per prescription. They did tell me that if he got on injections, they could do those there too - since we have insurance, I’m assuming we’d pay them our normal rate.

I’d call both your county or city mental health departments & ask. If they don’t have that, call the local health department, or even your local United Way. The United Way here talks big every time they want us to re-up our donations at work, so I’d love to hear that they give some real, practical help to the people who need it the most - like our kids.

This might give you an idea of the process:

My son went in one day & waited to be evaluated. We explained about both his mental health issues & his substance abuse problems. They decided to put him on the substance abuse side because it’s usually longer term, they provide transportation if needed, etc. They assigned him to a therapist and set him up with an appt in a few days.

After a few months, they started talking to him about whether or not he wanted a case worker. Once he said yes, he got put on a waiting list for the next time the board reviewed patients to see if they needed one. We had to go back in and see someone who took more information (some that they already had), got him to sign more forms, then the next week the case management team reviewed it and he was assigned to a case manager.

It took them about another week for her to call us, but he was also in the hospital.

They do a lot for them if they accept the help.
For him, at this point, she’ll call him at least once a month to talk about his meds, and see him every few months. She can also talk to his doctors, and once he switches to a psychiatrist there, she can go with him to his appointments to help him explain things like I’ve been doing.

I think it might take me out of the argument so that we can have a better relationship. However, he just got his new meds this morning (one was one he asked for by name), and he voluntarily took both in the car on the way home, so I’m hoping the arguments are over for awhile anyway.