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Kaiser's patients talk about long waiting for mental health therapy



From time to time, Jessica Held invites Kaiser's mental health service in Santa Rosa to pray for help.

Feelings of severe anxiety and depression would make her worse, but they were not yet at alarming heights. At these times, she did not want to harm herself or others, although she firmly believed she needed additional support from someone – someone who would see her at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Rosa

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A detainee said she has been constantly told that there has been no access to individual therapy for at least a month because she has not been in a crisis situation although she has been a Kaiser patient since 2001.

The history of Held and others like her received new attention this week, as Californian mental health workers organized a five-day state strike against the non-governmental healthcare system. The National Union of Healthcare Professionals, Psychologists, Therapists and Clinical Social Workers, Completed its Strike on Friday

The members of the union say patients should wait an average of four to six weeks for individual therapeutic appointments because Kaiser did not has hired enough mental health workers to properly treat their members. Many people in need of individual care are heading for group therapy, union members say. Michel Gasill-Chames, CEO of the Nurse for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, said HMO was aggressively engaged in therapists, accelerating patient care, urgently, and improving mental health services for patients in their system.

42-year-old Held said he was prominent and heard is key to his recovery. She said she had struggled with depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, and post-traumatic stress disorder throughout her life. Without the opportunity to see a therapist on a regular basis, the condition of Kenwood's wife quickly began to decline.

"Or become dead or become dead, more depressed in this system," said Held. "I lost everything passing through this experience, and now I have nothing to lose, now I'm not afraid to talk."

Patients living in the North Bay who said they had been through a long time to see a therapist and were dissatisfied of their treatment at Kaiser, contacted The Press Democrat this week to share their stories hoping that others would know they were not alone in their fight for better medical help

A terrible, traumatic experience

Heather Meyers watched as a deputy to put her 15-year-old daughter in eznitsi and take her to the hospital after the young man threatened to commit suicide.

The Santa Rosa woman followed the patrol car to Kaiser's medical center and was terrified while her daughter was placed in a sterile, naked room with nothing but a bed her hands still handcuffed

She was heartbreaking, she said "My daughter is not a bad child, she is a beautiful and great human being, she just suffers from a depression that is in your brain and should be treated as if you have a broken knee," Myers said.

Myers had no choice but to wait until her daughter was moved to another hospital for intensive psychiatric help. Like many other means, Kaiser usually transfers patients in psychiatric help unintentionally because they pose a threat to themselves or others, known as the 5150 detention. Most of them are sent to centers equipped to cope with acute crisis situations, said Kaiser.


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