CEO Messages

Honoring Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recognizes as a time “to increase awareness about the vital role mental health plays in our overall health and well-being and provide resources and information to support individuals and communities who may need mental health support.”  

Almost one quarter of adults with a mental illness are unable to receive the treatment they need — a number that has not improved since 2011. I understand this issue firsthand because of my family’s experiences with mental health and the behavioral health care continuum, and how I learned to be an advocate for my children to get the services they needed.  

As I shared previously, my 22-year-old daughter Meghan is on the autism spectrum and has sensory integration disorder. She has received partial hospitalization in Ohio twice and during this time has worked with more than a dozen different providers due to complications with caregivers leaving and insurance. My 15-year-old daughter Zoey has also experienced clinical depression. It was already challenging to go through junior high school remotely due to COVID-19 and to navigate high school, and her struggles with mental health further complicate things. When she admitted to having thoughts of self-harm, we immediately took her to the hospital. She was assessed and began a partial hospitalization program in California.

My children’s experiences with the behavioral health care continuum show the critical importance of having advocates for behavioral health when patients need it. Hospital Council understands how critical it is for our hospitals to be there for patients 24/7, as well as the ability to provide a full range of services. Since October, Hospital Council has seen a growing awareness from elected officials and public health leaders on the need to address mental health capacity in the health care system. Through conversations with elected officials and public health leaders, we hope to acquire additional beds and facilities that match the demand for mental health services in northern and central California. All Californians deserve access to reliable, high-quality health care.