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How Do You Work with a Broken Mental Health System?

This post is part 2 of an experience we had with our daughter who suffers severe mental health issues, while trying to work within a broken system. To read part one of this story, click HERE.

I have been really struggling with all that's going on with Sunshine in her RTC. The mental health system is so broken.

I contacted my case worker who directed me to contact someone in a higher position of power. 

So I did.

This person made a decision to try to help in any way she could.

A CPS report was filed.

As a result of her actions, we learned that things are much worse for Sunshine than we thought. 

So much in fact that all parties are trying to get Sunshine out of the residential treatment center (RTC) where she currently resides. 

We are devastated as parents. 

We sent Sunshine to an RTC for help and treatment. Instead the opposite has occurred.

How do you work with a broken mental health system?

How Do You Work with a Broken Mental Health System?

How Do You Work with a Broken System?

A Glimpse of the Broken System

Due to legal contracts between states, we can't just go and pick Sunshine up.

Instead we wait for all parties in both states to sort out what happens next.

Apparently we are the exception to the rule in cases like this. 

Most parents decide to just relinquish their rights.

They're done and just can't fight anymore.

We will not do that.

Sunshine is our daughter. 

She deserves a loving family, just like every other child on this planet.

She may not be able to live at home with us due to safety reasons, but that doesn't mean we still can't love her unconditionally, support her treatment and healing process, and advocate for her in ways that othes can't along the way.

If she was a warrant of the state, she'd have no one.

The Unknowns

There are so many unknowns right now.

Will she be transferred to another residential treatment center?

Where will the new residential treatment center be?

Will she be sent home?

All of these questions lead to more questions.

If she is transferred to another RTC, when and how will that occur?

What will be our role in that?

If we are to go and get her, how do we keep all of our children safe?

When will we need to leave?

What can we even expect from Sunshine at this point?  

The safety of all of our children, including Sunshine is our top priority.

Keeping custody of Sunshine is also of the utmost importance.

What's Being Done?

Our community supports are working around the clock to try to find a solution that meets the needs of all in our family.

Sunshine needs help. 

Her needs are severe.

Applications to as many RTCs as we can think of are being sent out on a daily basis.

There appears to be a new program where residential treatment can occur in the home. We would have a team working with our family with staff in our home forty hours a week. 

Sunshine may qualify for this program. There may be an opening. We just don't know. 

Our community supports are working on this.

In the event that an in-home residential program is possible, it still takes time for everything to be put in place.

The Worst Case and Most Likely Scenario

If the state where Sunshine currently resides revokes the interstate contract, we will have five days to go and pick Sunshine up. 

After that five days, if we have not picked her up, she will become a warrant of the state, and we will face abandonment charges.

We are preparing to leave at a moment's notice, if and when that call comes.

Due to Sunshine's severe needs and behaviors, she can not return to our home without the necessary supports, or we risk charges of endangering the welfare of our children.

So, just like last fall, if and when we do pick Sunshine up, Sunshine will be taken to a local hotel to stay. 

My husband and I will take turns being with her, while the rest of the family remains at home.

The hotel will be in close proximity to the sheriff's office and the hospital in the event that she is in crisis and we need help immediately.

We are so thankful that we do not have to worry about COVID-19 this time around. Both my husband and I are vaccinated.

We don't know yet if Sunshine's current severity is a result of what's going on in the RTC, or if she's even more unstable than she was the last time she was at home, needing psychiatric hospitalization.

Preparations for every scenario are underway.

Helpless doesn't begin to describe how we feel as parents right now.

My daughter desperately needs long term psychiatric help, yet this option doesn't appear to exist.

If it does, we haven't found it yet.

Meanwhile we continue to figure out how to work with a broken mental health system, paving the way for change.

It is beyond frustrating and so incredibly hard.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. 

Sunshine needs help.

We desperately want her to receive that help.

The right help needs to be found immediately.

To read part three and four of this experience, be sure to click on the links below.

The System Failed Us Horribly

 The System Failed Us Horribly

She Needs a Forensics Exam

She Needs a Forensics Exam

For those who would like to continue to follow Sunshine's story and our experience with the mental health system, be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking the link below.

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How Do You Work with a Broken Mental Health System?

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