Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is There a Place for Me?

I have a friend who is searching for a place for her son who is struggling with mental health issues. He is a teen who tries his best to be a good kid. He drives his sister crazy, just like every other younger brother does. He loves animals. He takes psychotropic medication every day. He has a loving family that is well informed and is insured. He may have a serious mental health issue like schizophrenia. He knows when he needs to go to a hospital and tells his parents when it is time. He doesn't want to hurt anyone, ever. But he has. What this young man with so much ahead of him doesn't have is a place to go that can help him with what may be coming. He can get crisis stabilization at a number of places in Texas that are close to home and who deliver good care. But where can he go if he needs longer care and treatment for more than 20 days? His mom knows her stuff and is well connected. But she has struck out in the Great State of Texas. There is no place for a child like him to go, for any amount of money. She is now looking out of state for something to help get him through the next few months. State hospitals are not the right setting for him, and they are overcrowded anyway. He is sheltered and immature in comparison to other teens his age. He needs help, he wants help, his family is ready to get him help, but none can be found. This is a crime against this child and all other kids like him. Texas needs to take care of these kids too, and not send them out of the state for compassionate care. At the risk of starting a movement, email or call your Senators and let them know you want in state options for severely mentally ill kids. Tell them this is not optional. We want our kids to be cared for appropriately and locally, otherwise a large chunk of one Texan's income may be headed to Utah.

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