Family calls mental health care “cracked,” daughter’s cries for help unanswered

Posted at 11:34 PM, Aug 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-24 23:34:52-04

LOWELL, Mich. – A Lowell mother said her 19-year-old daughter is slipping through the cracks of the mental health care system, even though her daughter is crying for help.

Laurie Garcia reached out to FOX 17 to share her family’s battle with mental illness in hopes of finding help for her daughter and others.

Garcia said her daughter admitted herself into the hospital after cutting herself last week; but the family feeds they are being led in circles without long-term treatment options.

“Managed care is not managed care, it’s managed cost; there’s no care involved in it,” said Garcia.

Garcia said her daughter Sadie is talented, smart, and caring and is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Sadie has a history of cutting herself out of anger, and just last week Garcia said Sadie cut herself so deeply that she need about 30 stitches. Doctors told the family the cuts almost reached an artery.

Days after being in the emergency room, Sadie called the hospital herself to ask for help and to be admitted. But the hospital requested that Sadie to come in the next day.

“(Sadie) had to come get me, get my purse, get my information, give it to them on the phone, the whole works, before they would even tell her, ‘Okay you can come in,'” said Garcia. “And then they said you can’t come in until tomorrow.”

Sadie was released less than a week later after only receiving group therapy. She sent home with 60 days worth of what Garcia described as a dangerous medication.

“They just explained to me that this is the status of the mental health system today, that the goal of hospitalization is stabilization only. They do no psychological testing, they do no one-on-one, intensive one-on-one type counseling while they’re at the hospital,” said Garcia.

But when Laurie asked hospital employees what kind of long-term treatment is next for her daughter, she was given no answer.

“I don’t understand this cutting stuff she does, but I know when she does it, it’s her crying out for help, for whatever’s going on inside,” said Garcia. “And I just wish somebody would help her, ’cause we don’t know what else to do.”

Laurie said mental illness is still stigmatized and the mental health care system is “cracked.”

“Cracked like an egg, it’s cracked,” said Garcia. “There’s no piecing it back together either, you can try to look for resources on your own but even that is hard to find.”

Now she and her family are searching for treatment options, but Garcia said this is a problem beyond having legal guardianship of their 19-year-old daughter; and, this is beyond receiving only group therapy.

“It all comes back to money, which is sad, because what price will we pay if we don’t get these people help?,” asked Garcia.

Laurie told FOX 17 that Sadie has an appointment scheduled with a psychologist this week, and she and her husband are doing all that they can to help make sure Sadie attends. But Laurie reiterated that their family feels they are being led in circles after the hospital provides no suggestions for a long-term, even out-patient, treatment plan.