Comstock's magazine 1118 - November 2018 - Page 52

n Mental Health bursement, to some extent, the real focus on the earliest prevention hasn’t always been available.” In 2016, Kaiser Permanente launched a Find Your Words campaign, using TV, theater, digi- tal and radio spots to drive viewers to a website with more information around mental health and wellness. In May, Kaiser announced a $2 million anti- stigma investment to support community organi- zations. Of the 25 grants given in Northern Cali- fornia, three were awarded in greater Sacramento: the San Juan Unified School District (to educate seventh graders and their parents about mental health), the Health Education Council (to improve mental health of families living in downtown Rose- THE FALL OF ville), the Elk Grove Unified School District (to sup- port stigma reduction and peer outreach among LGBTQ students). “We’re fighting against the idea that a mental health condition is shameful or a choice or you should just get over it,” says Dr. Humberto Tem- porini, a psychiatrist for Kaiser Permanente. “The idea is to allow people who are experiencing be- havioral health problems to start talking about it, bring it forward.” COLLABORATIVE CARE Mental health as a “family condition” reflects the recent shift toward more collaboration in medi- cine. Primary care providers spend about 40 per- an agency YOLO COUNTY BIDS FAREWELL TO LONG-STANDING FAMILY CLINIC For more than 50 years, Yolo Family Service Agency provided mental health services to Yolo County. In May, the small nonprofit agency shut down for good. Former board members say YFSA was a place of personalized care, where patients — primarily children — in need could have more frequent visits, and therapy sessions could go on a little longer. “That made the organization very unique,” says Mark Capitolo, former board vice chair. “But in some ways, those attributes were difficult to maintain in the evolving behavioral health economy.” YFSA tried to get 100 visits a month for kids, and sometimes the waiting list ballooned to 30. The Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency had contracted with YFSA for mental health services for children with severe emotional disturbance and those involved in child welfare. But it was later determined that YFSA was serving many children who had less significant mental health conditions and were funded at a lower rate through a different payor source, says HHSA Director Karen Larsen. “Not only was this not a financially sustainable model, but it also would not have been our clinical prefer- ence, as we always prefer services be targeted to those in most need,” she says. The county had advanced YFSA money in order to assist with cash flow, and this money had to be repaid to the county, Larsen adds. “We tried to step up and be ready, but our previous executive director passed away and we hired a new director and it devolved from there,” says Karen Ziebron, former board chair of YFSA. “This is something that’s so close to my heart. I feel terrible that I was the one on the board when the agency was determined to be insolvent.” After the decision was made to dissolve, the county helped transfer clients to other vendors with more sustainable funding models. One of the local contractors even bought YFSA’s building and hired several of their staff, Larsen says. This allowed some patients to receive services in the same location often with the same therapist, despite YFSA going out of business. With a new fiscal year and redone contracts, Larsen doesn’t expect the problem to happen again. “The waiting lists are cleared,” she says. “It was quite a little whirlwind, but I think it’s all settled now.” — Russell Nichols 52 comstocksmag.com | November 2018