Cottage Health partners with other medical centers to address mental health treatment complaints
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The Cottage Health Hospital in Santa Barbara has been collaborating with Santa Maria’s Marian Regional Medical Center and Lompoc Valley Medical Center to work on mental-health complaints in Santa Barbara County. However, the Independent reports that representatives of the County continue to caution residents of premature excitement: case funds are still unmet and are much lower than the expected level. Calls for treatment of mental-health in Santa Barbara County have made a rise to the top in the community. Over a year and a half of conversation continues to make small strides in solving the problem, but the community awaits larger measures. The larger question regards the constant shipping of patients in need of mental support to other facilities, oftentimes out of state and even the country. Eric Nelson, Director of Counseling Services at Westmont College and board member of the Santa Barbara County Psychological Association told the Horizon that, “for Santa Barbara, specific factors here make mental health care important, including the recent natural disasters, financial pressures for individuals and families, the exterior beauty that can feel dissonant from personal pain, and the spectrum of wealth inequality in the city.”
The three medical centers continue to meet and discuss measures with “Behavioral Wellness czar” Alice Gleghorn, according to the Independent. The group has goals of building a much-needed facility to focus on mental health, reports the Independent. It seems that in Santa Barbara, “middle class families often report difficulty accessing care for children and adolescents,” Nelson told the Horizon. He continued to explain that some of these middle class families do not qualify for subsidized treatment and have trouble affording proper options for care. Leaders in the community are beginning to realize the problems with sending patients out of the area, when Santa Barbara County has vast amounts of land for construction of a mental-health facility. Not to mention that Santa Barbara spends twice as much helping patients get care from facilities other than their own.
Santa Barbara leans to what they know best: Leon Evans’s mental-health model. Evans is known for his creation of The Restoration Center in 2008 in San Antonio, Texas. The TRC is a one-stop shop to treat those in mental crisis, where they can receive psychiatric care, substance use services, general health care, and transitional housing, no matter if patients had multiple admissions to the center. Evans’s goal for The Restoration Center is to treat patients with respect and utilize motivational engagement. Most importantly, he wanted to give those in crisis a safe way to avoid jail and emergency rooms. His model is described as “gold” and continuously causes all others to fall short. Evans was able to do this because of an investor, Mr. Vaquero, donating seven figures to getting Evans’s idea off the ground. Santa Barbara realizes the importance of an investor at this point in their situation before they can begin implementing a model similar to Evans’s.
Santa Barbara Behavioral Wellness Commission has bylaw duties documented on their website that call them responsible to “review and evaluate the community’s behavioral health needs, including services, facilities, and special problems to ensure that behavioral health services are provided.” As for Santa Barbara, “mental health planning recently has looked into novel and accessible approaches to mental health care for children and adolescents, such as comprehensive centers where teenagers can receive counseling, group education, recreation, and space to connect in healthy ways with others,” Nelson told the Horizon. The Santa Barbara Behavioral Wellness Commission meets on the third Wednesday of every month to continue these conversations and work towards responding the community with a final solution.