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Elizabeth.” “This house was built with her laughing

Time:2019-03-12 22:39Shoes websites Click:

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CALmatters mental health

At home Seong Brown lights a candle at the alter she made for her daughter. Elizabeth's ashes are in the red box with the cross Challenges of a healthcare crisis. Elizabeth Morgan Brown hung herself but lived with serious brain damage until she died at home. 

—Photo by Penni Gladstone/CALmatters

Elizabeth Brown’s bedroom holds a trove of evidence of her fight to save herself.

Preserved among the Twilight novels, the posters of Korean pop singers and cameras she used for her budding journalism career are clues to the Santa Rosa teenager’s agonizing struggle with the mental illness that claimed her life last year. Next to her neatly made bed sits the lavender candle she lit to soothe herself with aromatherapy. On her desk are the bunny slippers she wore during the months she was too depressed and anxious to leave the house. Taped to the wall are two plastic hospital bracelets from separate psychiatric admissions in September and November 2017.

Underneath them hang four yellow sticky notes, on which she had printed: “channel all the anger, sadness, hurt in to this one thing” “you can have control” “you can be beautiful” “this pain is good.” The cutting, the suicidal thoughts, the suffocating despair as she tried to find treatment — those details live on in the journal she hid behind a password on her laptop.

“She really tried hard,” her mother, Seong Brown, says quietly.“Elizabeth had a lot of hope to get better. She believed in the medical system to help her. But they failed at every turn.”

Around California, people with mental illness — and their family members — describe pleading with insurance providers for treatment. Their stories share an underlying premise: Despite policy advances in the past two decades intended to compel insurance companies to provide patients with equivalent levels of care for physical and mental illnesses, the reality on the ground still looks very different.

A statewide poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the California Health Care Foundation found that the top health issue Californians want their governor and legislature to address in 2019 is ensuring mental health problems can get treated: 88 percent called it extremely or very important. More than half of those surveyed thought their communities lacked mental health providers, and that most people with mental health conditions are unable to get the services they need.

The state Department of Managed Health Care has cited health plans dozens of times in the past decade — penalizing them millions of dollars — for mental health-related violations. And just last week, a federal judge in Northern California ruled that United Behavioral Healthcare had wrongly restricted treatment for patients with mental health and substance abuse disorders in order to cut costs, in violation of federal law.

Not all problems with access to mental health care are illegal, but some of them almost certainly are, said David Lloyd, national senior policy advisor of The Kennedy Forum, a mental health advocacy organization.“There’s a lot of evidence that discrimination by plans is happening,” he said.

A letter she wrote to herself during that time, which her parents discovered later, offers a window into her troubled mind: “The hardest part of being in a hump is that you can’t see the end. The end seems so far away, like a thin pinhole of light that may close up at any second. The depression drops you into a deep pit, leaving you to claw at the edges in an attempt to pull yourself out. But there are people, resources, pieces of hope that will drop you a ladder — I promise. Even though you scream and it seems like no one hears you, you will learn to help yourself....

"You can rely on yourself, you are your own saving grace. Because in the end, you won’t be saved by IOP or medications or therapy —you will be saved by you.”

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