Support Striking Kaiser Therapists

Kaiser, No lo Niegues

Los pacientes necesitan tener acceso a servicios de salud mental consistentes y seguros

Historias de Pacientes de Kaiser

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Es inmoral e ilegal proveer atención deficiente para enfermedades de salud mental. Kaiser se ha salido con la suya al contar con que la gente se quedará calladas, pero ahora los miembros de Kaiser están dando la cara, alzando su voy, y exigiendo más.

1,887 stories shared so far. Below are 301 featured ones.

Paying out of pocket for six-month treatment program after relapse due to Kaiser failures to provide adequate treatment

Published Thursday, September 22, 2022 #
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My 17-year-old son was diagnosed with multiple co-occurring mental disorders. When we brought him home from a Residential Treatment Facility after 90 days or so, Kaiser failed to provide our son with a counselor or a psychiatrist. We had to call multiple times, begging them to set something up for him. After several weeks he received a Zoom call from a counselor. Then weeks later he was able to meet her in person. My impression is that Kaiser does not care about the patient, they are only trying to comply with their regulations. People who suffer as bad as our son need hours of intense counseling and DBT (therapy) a week. As a result of Kaiser failures to provide adequate treatment, our son relapsed and experienced another 5150, 72-hour hold, County Crisis Center stay, etc. We have been forced to find an alternative, and had to send him to Louisiana for what may be six months of treatment. And we have to pay for it out of pocket.

John
Livermore

Referred out-of-network, sent back to Kaiser for evaluation, no response

Published Wednesday, September 21, 2022 #
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I was referred to mental health group sessions for depression. In the depression group I was later told that I wasn’t at that stage and was referred to speak with a manager, who submitted my information to AbleTo (out-of-network virtual therapy). I had my first appointment with AbleTo the following week. A week after the first consultation I was told that I needed a psych evaluation and that I needed a specialist that deals with trauma and depression. Kaiser mental health hasn’t reached out since the referral.

Melissa
Pittsburg

Over six months and no response to outside therapy referral

Published Tuesday, September 20, 2022 #
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I spoke with a psychiatrist in November 2021 via online appointment. I was told I was getting a referral for outside therapy for severe depression. I did not ever hear back. I called at the beginning of December 2021 to see what was going on and was told it hadn’t even been sent out. I asked for in-Kaiser therapy and was told I would be referred. No response for three weeks. I was forced to schedule a reassessment to actually talk to somebody who said she would refer me for a focus-based therapy program. I have no response. I ended up having to speak to my primary care doctor to get anywhere at all and by that point I had given up on therapy as an option altogether and asked for medication. Luckily, the medication has helped me to make significant progress but I never wanted to be on medication to begin with. It is currently July 2022 and I still have no response from any therapy office or Kaiser regarding therapy.

Ashley
Concord

After much success, therapist retired and no replacement was assigned

Published Monday, September 19, 2022 #
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I have been a Kaiser patient for close to 50 years. I have been a positive advocate for much of my time with Kaiser. I have been a constant patient in Adult Psychology for the last 19 years. Over that time, I’ve had awesome Adult Psychology support, medication, Adult Psychology classes and studies. During this time I was able to stop my medications and use the tools and have the support that I vitally need through my classes that provide support with that important check in with other patients with similar issues! This really keeps me off the medication and I feel that should be readily available to me from Kaiser’s Adult Psychology Department as told it would be! This was explained to me many times over by the clinicians in the Adult Psychology Department and my Psychiatrist. I feel I have accomplished a great deal weaning myself off of the maximum medication I was on. I thought that was Kaiser’s plan as well. Although, when my therapist retired, no replacement!

William
San Jose

Changing psychiatrists took more than a month

Published Sunday, September 18, 2022 #
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The only good experience I’ve had with Kaiser is with two psychiatrists themselves, but every other experience has been horrid. I waited over a month to get an online therapist appointment and when it finally came the therapist was not a good match at all. I was told I was a drama seeker because I said I wanted to take care of myself better and get rid of my executive dysfunction. So now I have to wait another month or longer to get a new therapist. They also do not make it that easy. I’ve had a psychiatrist in the past who also didn’t believe in medicine so that was fun too!

Genevieve
West Hills

Sought outside therapist over Kaiser’s lack of staff

Published Saturday, September 17, 2022 #
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I go to an outside therapist because Kaiser does not have enough available good therapists on staff. I also go to an outside psychiatrist because Kaiser hit a wall while treating my depression. My doctor had a list of medications he was going to try me on and wasn’t tailoring the medication choices to how I responded to the medications I had already tried. If “a” didn’t work for any reason, we tried “b.” My outside psychiatrist takes the information we learn from how I respond to medication “a” to decide what to put me on next. I lost hope with Kaiser that I could get better, and my outside psychiatrist has essentially found a medication combination that cured my depression.

Jamie
Oakland

Tried to change therapist and was only allowed three appointments with new one

Published Friday, September 16, 2022 #
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I’ve been seeking mental health care from Kaiser for the past three years. Kaiser makes it extremely hard and emotionally exhausting to advocate for yourself. Recently, I attempted to change therapists as I felt no progress with my old one. I was told I would need to conduct a new intake with a three-week wait. Once they called me, the intake coordinator dismissed my needs and stated that Kaiser doesn’t believe in long-term therapy and could only allow me three appointments. I continued to advocate for myself and shared my previous experiences with Kaiser. I regretted changing my therapist as at least I was able to get monthly appointments with her. I felt worse after that phone call. Kaiser doesn’t care, there is no consistency in their care. They claim to not be able to refer you out of network, but will tell the next patient something completely different.

Gaby
San Jose

Kaiser therapist moved visits from four to eight weeks, then to 15 weeks

Published Thursday, September 15, 2022 #
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I’m a trans person and someone wanted to kill me with violence. Someone wanted me to die because I am different. Kaiser denied care. I sought private care and was diagnosed with PTSD. I couldn’t afford to keep paying privately so I went back to Kaiser. The kaiser psychologist moved our visits from four to eight weeks. In the meantime, I was faced with violence again. The Kaiser therapist canceled again one hour before treatment and moved our visit to 15 weeks. At that point I wrote the psychologist that “I was sleeping with a .357 (gun) just to feel safe. Right now I want to hit someone and not stop. When you know you can keep an appointment please let me know?” He suddenly found time for a 15-minute crisis visit. Family helped me pay for weekly therapy out-of-pocket after Kaiser chaos and I’m healthier safer now.

Noah
Rancho Cordova

Mother sought therapist to deal with PTSD, still waiting for first session

Published Wednesday, September 14, 2022 #
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My son has behavioral issues and we asked Kaiser for ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) services and it took three months to start. He was also diagnosed as being on the spectrum during Covid and it took forever. I supported/schooled my kids for over two years, which caused me mental health issues. I reached out to Kaiser to get help for my PTSD and they gave me a Clinical Psychologist which doesn’t treat PTSD, just self-care. Then I tried to get a therapist and that took time, so I made an appointment three months out. I’m still waiting until August. My kids both have a therapist because they had issues with mental health during Covid. They only got to be seen once a month over Zoom. One hour a month is simply not enough. We spent that time talking about issues that happened a month ago. What’s the point of that? They said to keep a list of all monthly events and address it at the meeting. It’s very frustrating to pay so much money and not get the care we need when we need it. My mental health is worse due to Kaiser.

Ingrid
Walnut Creek

Tossed back and forth between the psych and addiction medicine department

Published Tuesday, September 13, 2022 #
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I’m truly afraid I’ll die in this fight for care. I’ve been tossed back and forth between the psych department and the addiction medicine department for years. All I want is a referral for a trauma based therapist that I can see regularly. In the last two years I’ve been to the ER four times, the psych ward twice, and participated in tons of groups and I can’t have any continuous care from a therapist. I just get overly medicated and then tossed to someone else. I’ve committed myself to the psych ward hoping that the social worker would make the referral. I’ve been hung up on by a crisis counselor in the psych department after they told me I needed to go through addiction medicine for help, and then ignored by and denied rehab by addiction medicine who said I needed to go through the psych department. I pay for insurance, and I want help and I can’t get anything until I’m suicidal or relapsing. Even then I’ve been told my relapse wasn’t bad enough. I don’t know what to do anymore.

Julia
Bay Area

Therapy sessions denied for ADHD son; only offered a new medication

Published Monday, September 12, 2022 #
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Sought psychiatry for my son who has ADHD and was medicated on adderall. He was having an extremely negative reaction causing thoughts of self-harm along with hallucinations. I wanted him off the medication and for him to receive therapy sessions because just going off the medication or changing it wasn’t going to undo where he was psychologically. They offered a new medication and that was it.

Jennifer
El Dorado Hills

Therapists on referral lists don’t accept new patients

Published Sunday, September 11, 2022 #
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I have never experienced such difficulty in finding mental health care since joining Kaiser in 2020. I did an intake with a Kaiser therapist, who seemed entirely uninterested. I tried for over a year to find a therapist with no luck. Eventually my referral ran out. I went through all these processes again, being clear about my experiences in the past. This did not help me find a therapist. I was given another list of providers. Once again, no names on the list were accepting new patients. When I called Kaiser back to see if they could help get me in to see a therapy I was told “if providers aren’t accepting new patients there is nothing we can do.” The same person also told me that “no one wants to live in Santa Rosa or work for Kaiser.” I feel utterly defeated. I have multiple chronic illnesses, diagnosed PTSD, Borderline, and treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. I’m the kind of person who needs to be in therapy. The pain caused by Kaiser’s lack of support is debilitating.

Lauren
Santa Rosa

Kaiser denied reimbursement for residential treatment center for teen son

Published Saturday, September 10, 2022 #
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My 15-year-old son had a near lethal suicide attempt. The psych recommended 3-4 months RTC (Residential Treatment Center). Two of the RTCs denied my son due to safety concerns. A few had long waiting lists. The other two they wanted him to go to, I heard terrible things about and catered to foster kids and sex trafficked kids. They were not at all a good fit for my son and would have made him worse. He was in desperate need of quality help because he was in so much pain mentally. We paid out of pocket for Wilderness Therapy (which saved his life) and Kaiser denied any reimbursement, even on appeal. Our secondary insurance ended up reimbursing a small amount for the therapy portion. My son then went to an RTC and we were fortunate that our school district funded it through his IEP. My son is home now after a year and is doing great. There is no way he would be alive right now if he did not go to WT and then a quality RTC.

We paid thousands of dollars for therapists before he left too because he could not get the help he needed.

Amy
Folsom

Unable to talk to Kaiser therapist for six weeks for postpartum depression help

Published Friday, September 9, 2022 #
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I have a history of postpartum depression and anxiety, as well as a diagnosed generalized anxiety disorder. After giving birth to my second baby, I reached out to my Kaiser therapist for help but was unable to talk to them for six weeks. I reached out to the hospital staff, who promised to have a counselor call me, but never heard back. I reached out to my OB who referred me to her department’s behavioral health specialist, but they would not meet with me because I was already established with a therapist in the mental health department. I reached out to my son’s pediatrician and she referred me to the pediatric department’s behavioral specialist, and got the same response. I called mental health to explain the acute severity I was experiencing, but was denied. It felt like my predisposition restricted my access to getting help. My psychiatrist was eventually able to get me approved for an outside therapist, and I finally had my first appointment when my baby was four months old.

M.
Castro Valley

Found outside therapist to extend mental health disability when there was a three-month waiting period at Kaiser

Published Thursday, September 8, 2022 #
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I was four months postpartum and planning my return to work as a nurse practitioner in March 2020 when the pandemic hit. I was already stressed about my return to work and the challenges of pumping and leaving my baby. I also wasn’t sleeping much due to his poor sleep. When the pandemic hit, I became incredibly anxious, my sleep worsened and I didn’t know what to do. As a nurse practitioner myself, I often provide help to my patients with temporary disabilities as they manage mental health challenges so I reached out to my PCP for help. I was told she couldn’t do temporary disability and was referred to talk to a counselor in her office. That person didn’t take me seriously and told me the only one who could do temporary disability for mental health was someone in psychiatry and there was a three month waiting period. I ended up finding an outside therapist who was able to extend my disability for four months until I was in much better health and able to return to work.

Arielle
Oakland

School counselor helped 5-year-old when Kaiser offered appointment six months ahead

Published Wednesday, September 7, 2022 #
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My 5-year-old witnessed my medical trauma (I was hospitalized with a spinal injury). He was dysregulated and having panic attacks as a result. We got the referral in September. The first available appointment after a long intake process was in November, two weeks before my due date with my second child. I asked to be prioritized for anything earlier and was told that it was noted but then silence – no follow up. The baby was born on the day of the initial appointment, so we needed to reschedule. Then the earliest new appointment was March. Luckily, his teacher at public kindergarten saw the same behavior issues at school and got him in with the school counselor immediately. He got help, so I canceled the March appointment. He was coping by then, but I definitely feel I didn’t get the services we paid for. I am using Optimum health insurance for my own mental health instead of Kaiser after the experience with my son and the offer of only six sessions through Kaiser – despite my history of being injured and institutionalized.

Alexandra
Berkeley

Increasing caseload requires scheduling appointments far in advance; makes changes hard if things come up

Published Tuesday, September 6, 2022 #
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First, I am grateful for my therapist. She has helped me so much and we work well together. She is dedicated to helping her clients. However, I have often observed that we need to schedule appointments far in advance due to the fact that she has an ever increasing caseload. If she had to cancel an appointment for personal reasons (which is part of life) there is no way I would be able to come in anytime soon and wait for the next appointment we had scheduled. Then comes the impossible scenario of getting our next appointment together. My therapist and my work is important to me. I have not had an in-person meeting since COVID. I want to come in and see her – it is externally hard to continue our visits this way. I support the therapists’ efforts to get more staffing and the great need to allow old and new members to receive the treatment they need. I am very thankful and lucky to have such a caring, competent, courageous therapist.

Kimberly
Lahaina, Hawaii

Struggling mother asked to wait seven weeks for appointment

Published Monday, September 5, 2022 #
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During my six weeks postpartum visit, I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety. While I was prescribed medication, I requested to speak with a psychiatrist as well. When the psychiatry department reached out to do the initial assessment, the only options I was given was either an appointment at the Kaiser Psychiatric center seven weeks later, or to go and find a psychiatrist on my own outside Kaiser. I definitely felt ignored and that my condition was not serious enough for them to prioritize my mental health. For a mother who was struggling with postpartum anxiety every day, being asked to wait seven more weeks was not helpful.

Sneha
Hayward

Checked myself into county mental health facility because I could not get an appointment with a Kaiser doctor

Published Sunday, September 4, 2022 #
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I had regular appointments with my psychologist every three months and could not get appointments sooner as needed. He could not give me a followup appointment while I was there and had to wait until he contacted me. If that appointment wasn’t good for me timewise I had to wait another three months. On a few occasions I had to check myself into the county mental health facility during a crisis because I could not get an appointment with a Kaiser doctor. Horrible, horrible. Not enough staff for the patients and I pay over $1,000 monthly for insurance

Joann
Fairfield

 

Kaiser lacks adequate or specialized staff who can work with children with disabilities

Published Saturday, September 3, 2022 #
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Our son (age 12) has autism, anxiety, and sensory challenges. Kaiser was quick to prescribe medication but threw up a brick wall when we requested concurrent therapy with a therapist who could handle our child’s complex neurodiversity. The most we could get is a few visits with a random therapist to deal with anxiety. This, of course, is grossly inadequate, as our child will likely need continuous mental health support to be a healthy, functioning member of society. Kaiser does not have adequate staff or specialized staff who can work with children with disabilities, and they will rarely authorize outside treatment. As a parent, I feel like I have to jump through hoops and wade through miles of red tape (meant to discourage me!) just to get care for my child.

Jessica
Albany

Referred to Beacon and left 75 messages for therapists

Published Friday, September 2, 2022 #
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I was given an outside referral to Beacon. I spent a Saturday leaving 75 voice messages for different therapists. Every therapist that called me back said they either were taking no new clients or would only take cash and not insurance; they started at $125 an hour at the low end. Kaiser then gave me a referral to an app called AbleTo where the therapist there said I was clinically depressed and needed an outpatient provider at Kaiser, referring me back to Kaiser. Kaiser then referred me back to Beacon. When I ask to speak to a therapist at Kaiser I am ghosted with no followup. This has been ongoing for months.

Carm
Alameda

Waited several months to see a therapist

Published Wednesday, August 31, 2022 #
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I routinely have to wait several months for appointments with my psychiatrist; scheduling this far in advance means that I often have to reschedule those appointments because work or childcare hours shift, and sometimes my psychiatrist also has to reschedule. I had to wait several months to see a therapist and when I did see her it was for only a few months before she “transitioned to another role”, so I will have to go through the whole waiting game again if I choose to get a new therapist through Kaiser. I have great insurance but several times have paid out of pocket for therapy outside of Kaiser because the waits are so punitive. It’s also nearly impossible to schedule or re-schedule appointments without spending an hour or more on hold on the phone. Truly, it’s punishing and not something easily tolerated at any time, let alone while in crisis.

Annemarie
Los Angeles

Four weeks waiting for appointment after suicide attempt

Published Tuesday, August 30, 2022 #
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My primary doctor prescribed an SSRI with zero follow up or psych referrals. I then had a suicide attempt but was discharged from ER with again no follow-up care. I called over and over to get into therapy and on different medications, and they offered me an “emergency psych appointment” three weeks later, after it had already taken a week just to reach someone. So four weeks from a serious suicide attempt. I ended up driving to Richmond for their psych ER clinic and waited about eight hours to be seen and change my meds. I still did not receive follow-up care. I finally paid out of pocket to see a therapist outside of Kaiser, and then switched insurance once my job allowed me to.

Christina
Antioch

Paying out of pocket after trying to sign up for recommended classes for months without success

Published Monday, August 29, 2022 #
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I sought therapy for moderate anxiety, depression, and grief and was offered only classes. I fought with them for months and was told that my anxiety and depression levels didn’t warrant therapy. I tried to sign up for the classes suggested by calling the phone number given to me by the intake psychologist and the number listed on the KP.org website and didn’t receive a call back for two months. I gave up and have been paying out of pocket for my therapy. I have opted not to take the suggested medications because Kaiser won’t cover them.

Jessica
Sacramento

Filed a complaint with Kaiser and DHCS after months waiting for appointment

Published Sunday, August 28, 2022 #
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Over the span of months, I requested talk therapy services with a dire need as my father was arrested for being a child predator (with me as a victim). It took months to get a therapy appointment – by that time, my psychiatrist had referred me to an outside outpatient hospitalization program. After filing a complaint with Kaiser, I finally got an appointment and hoped it would lead to continuing care. Following the appointment, I was offered a 30-minute followup but the therapist never showed up after I waited 27 minutes. The same therapist had referred me to a Kaiser class program that I was not eligible for as she had not scheduled me in months. After I complained directly to DHCS, I was finally referred out – that process took multiple attempts where I had to contact the referral department.

Josh
Sacramento

Paid for private care after Kaiser only offered appointment in six weeks

Published Saturday, August 27, 2022 #
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I had depression and severe anxiety. I waited weeks to see a psychologist. When I finally did see her, it was an intake interview with an appointment given in six weeks. No treatment plan, no feedback or support. She told me this is the Kaiser way; I couldn’t expect timely care. She offered a group drop-in session. I was in a group of several people in extreme crises. It was traumatizing, not therapeutic. I sought private care, spent $1,500 and found help. I tried again the next year to access care and waited six weeks for an appointment. I canceled the appointment the day before when they could not give me any information at all on the clinician’s credentials (they had the initials BM behind their name – outside contracted therapist). At this point I lost all faith in Kaiser and again sought private care. My husband’s had severe depression and anger management issues but after my experience he wouldn’t trust Behavioral Health. He got an antidepressant from his primary doctor but needs more care. We’re so frustrated.

Tara
Fairfax

ADHD screening required multiple appointments over six months

Published Friday, August 26, 2022 #
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I asked for an ADHD screening and it took multiple appointments across almost 6 months to get a diagnosis. A few months later, I tried to get an appointment with a specific therapist who was taking on new patients and it took three months before there was an opening (with a different therapist, as the first person I wanted to talk to turned out to not take self-referrals). Furthermore, I was looking for weekly appointments but this doctor only has the ability to meet every three months, and only for an hour at a time. She then assigned me to a group therapy “class” that was completely unhelpful for someone with a severe anxiety disorder. Another annoyance had to do with picking up ADHD medication. When I’ve been given a 30-day supply I can only request a new prescription on the last day of the 30 days. Mind you, not a refill – it has to be approved by my doctor, which can take up to seven days, so I often have to go without my medication. From a mental health perspective this is unacceptable.

Rachel
Santa Rosa

Kaiser provided lists of therapists with no availability

Published Thursday, August 25, 2022 #
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I asked for mental health care many times. Each time I was referred out quite unsuccessfully. They referred me to a company that kept sending me therapists that had no availability. In fact; the only mental health professional that was available was a Christian therapist which is fine, but considering I’m not Christian and have bad memories related to Christianity, it was not an option that could lead to improving my mental health. It got to the point where it was weeks upon weeks of getting these lists of therapists with no availability, I just gave up. And I was lucky because my university at the time had counseling (that I paid out of pocket for) which was amazing. Honestly, my mental health wasn’t too awful, but if it was worse I couldn’t imagine what would’ve happened. I feel this system just says no one cares about us or our mental health. I really wish Kaiser would put the effort and care that they do with their general practitioners (mine is amazing!) and other areas of care into mental health.

Maggie
Sacramento

Five-week waits between therapy appointments disrupts continuity of care

Published Thursday, August 25, 2022 #
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I have tried accessing Kaiser mental healthcare since 2018. The first time I did an intake at Kaiser I was immediately sent to Beacon because wait times for a therapist were three months. Connecting with therapy in 2019, appointments were five weeks apart and my provider would even be 10-15 minutes late. It was hard to focus on treatment with that frequency. It’s like I had to remind my therapist what I was facing. It’s hard to have any sense of continuity in care. It made it so frustrating that I didn’t even want to use mental health services while experiencing postpartum depression. Now I am only accessing psychiatry services and haven’t even attempted reconnecting with the therapy services. Another time I was sent to Beacon, they could not support me after four months of advocacy and returned to Kaiser where I had to restart the intake process. Kaiser mental healthcare care is poorly funded and managed. Please create standards for case ratio and racial diversity.

Kristine
San Bruno

 

Sees therapist every three months; daughter dropped by multiple therapists

Published Wednesday, August 24, 2022 #
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I can’t have regular appointments with my therapist more than every three months. I can talk to my pharmacologist more often. If I miss an appointment that’s now six months between appointments. I was diagnosed with PTSD and told the waiting list was a couple of months; it’s been six months now with no word back on it. I was using groups, but then they restructured then getting rid of the one I really liked and making none of them accessible to me at convenient times. My daughter has been dropped by multiple therapists and reassigned only to have it happen again so she’s had no real therapy. My husband’s been waiting to get assigned a mental health team after leaving a rehab facility and can only get meds through his PCP. We were just told my son didn’t need therapy and no future appointments were allowed to be scheduled.

Sarah Lee
Vacaville

Paying $300 a month after failing to secure therapist from Kaiser referrals

Published Tuesday, August 23, 2022 #
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I was in a car accident and had PTSD. I needed help as I was so afraid to be in the car, and was having nightmares and anxiety. I reached out to Kaiser and they said they could not help me in-house and referred me out. I got a therapist who was about to retire, never took notes and fell asleep during my appointments. I went back to Kaiser and spent a year and half trying to find a therapist. They would give me names, I would call and leave messages and no therapists would call me back. I called and complained and Kaiser switched me to another carrier in which I had the same problem. They even had referral for therapists who were in the Bay Area. Why would you make someone who has PTSD from a car accident and is afraid to be in the car drive four hours each way for help? I found a local therapist not in the network and asked Kaiser to reimburse me since they can not find me a therapist. They denied my claim. I am out $300 a month for therapy when I pay for health insurance that should cover it.

Deborah
Yuba City

Referred out, but no one taking Kaiser patients

Published Monday, August 22, 2022 #
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My son couldn’t get any mental health services because they said they were over max capacity and contracting out, however no one was taking Kaiser patients. We pay out of pocket for the platinum plan. My boyfriend sees his therapist once a month because that’s all they could do, even though he needs more intense and frequent therapy.

Lynn
Lake Elsinore

Only able to see counselor every six weeks

Published Sunday, August 21, 2022 #
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I can only get an appointment to see my counselor every six weeks. I can email her if things are going bad and maybe she can get me in, but I sense that this is always due to her giving up her personal time. During my EMDR treatment I had to wait eight weeks in the middle of treatment with no other resources available to me.

Amy
Santa Rosa

Kaiser never called to inform psychiatrist and psychologist stopped working for them

Published Saturday, August 20, 2022 #
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I am diagnosed as Bipolar 2. I sent emails through the Kaiser app to my psychiatrist and psychologist but no one replied. My mental health issue was in immediate need of treatment, so I called the mental health desk and was told both doctors were no longer working for Kaiser. One retired and the other went back to the Bay Area. I was never told my doctors were leaving, nor did I get a new doctor assigned to me. I was left in limbo. I then moved to Sacramento. Kaiser sent me a referral to seek treatment from another Kaiser approved doctor. He was terrible. I then had to have emergency mental health services in Sacramento in 2021 and was begging to get a referral to a different psychologist for therapy. It was absolutely the best experience for my mental health, non-Kaiser. They should be ashamed.

Greg
Rancho Cordova

Eight months to connect with a therapist

Published Friday, August 19, 2022 #
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It took over eight months to connect with a therapist. I had to schedule two interviews with a Kaiser administrator, which were booked out 2-3 months. I was under the impression I would be talking to a therapist during these, but this was more of an intake interview. After the second interview, I was told that no therapist in the area would be available for another two months! I decided to book anyway and loved the therapist I was connected to. Turns out this only lasted for a year! After a year of seeing the therapist, I needed to go through the initial interviews again to see if I still qualified. Very disappointed.

Jessica
Concord

Was placed in a psych hold while having a panic attack

Published Thursday, August 18, 2022 #
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I needed mental health care and had to wait over three months for an appointment. Originally they put me in some program with a clinician but it wasn’t working and I needed higher care. I eventually gave up and stopped treatment. This was at Fresno. In Santa Rosa, I had an ER visit and was told I was fine and that I needed to leave. I did not feel fine and told them I was scared to leave. They then placed a psych hold on me and stripped me of my clothes and phone. I told them I had a prescription for Xanax and that I needed one as I was having a panic attack. I was refused by the nurses. Even the security officer watching me told the nurse I was having a panic attack and no one would help. I was there all night until the next morning when they brought in a telepsychiatrist who got me medications to help.

Spencer
Coalinga

I pay $280/month for a therapy app because they consistently have someone to talk to

Published Wednesday, August 17, 2022 #
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A few years ago I was having extreme anxiety and needed to see an advisor, who told me I was stressed and needed retail therapy and to stop worrying. Fast forward to today, I called Kaiser to schedule a mental health appointment and they have never called me back. I don’t want to jump through hoops for care, and upon telling my neighbor about it I found she experienced something similar, except they did call her back and she heavily disliked the mental health therapist they assigned to her so she stopped going. I pay $280/month for a separate talk therapy app now because at least they are consistent to talk to someone. I did not bring this up to my doctor at Kaiser because it shouldn’t be so hard in the first place, so I am sticking with the service that made it easy for me. I can’t afford it though, so I’m going on their $70/month service and fear I will have to reach out to Kaiser again. Feels like I am fighting to be noticed when already stressed.

Adele
South San Francisco

Paid out of pocket for therapy instead of waiting 6-8 weeks between appointments

Published Tuesday, August 16, 2022 #
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I have to wait 6-8 weeks between each therapy appointment. It’s gotten so bad I had to pay out of pocket for mental health care not covered by Kaiser at $100/hour because I can’t wait two months for a mental health emergency.

Melissa
San Francisco

Six weeks between appointment and inconsistent appointment times

Published Monday, August 15, 2022 #
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For many years we tried to have our daughters seen on a regular basis but were told we could only have two appointments on the books at a time. We played by that rule for a while but that often meant six weeks between appointments and inconsistent appointment times, which was stressful when having to take kids, especially one with anxiety, out of school. We ultimately went out of network, costing us thousands of dollars over the years. In addition to poor access to therapists, psychiatry appointments were equally challenging. Over the years we only saw two psychiatrists for minors, which often meant long wait times between appointments.

Jana
San Diego

Refused help after assault

Published Sunday, August 14, 2022 #
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I was assaulted while on a trip to the south in May of 2022. I made an appointment to speak with someone to set me up with a Kaiser therapist to discuss the challenges I was having dealing with the trauma. After a 25 minute question-and-answer meeting with an intake person I was told that since I didn’t have something diagnosable (depression, etc.) they would not set me up with a therapist. It was very frustrating and demoralizing as I’m not someone to typically reach out for help like that and when I did I was basically told they wouldn’t help at all and “good luck with all that.”

Chris
San Diego

After mental health hospitalization, teen daughter seen once in six months by therapist

Published Saturday, August 13, 2022 #
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We are living an awful experience trying to get help for my 15-year-old daughter. She has been “seen” by a psychiatrist 4-5 times in the last three years. She was assigned group therapy, which was a joke; she felt it was mostly a waste of time dealing with multiple behavior issues and we felt it influenced her even worse. She was hospitalized by Kaiser after an ER visit for “intense therapy”. The only facility Kaiser said we could take her was 2.5 hours away. This facility was awful. We had a very hard time getting any information and were told multiple conflicting things from different staff members. Our “family therapy session” was a less than five minute phone call. In the facility where she stayed, our daughter told us she saw a doctor for less than five minutes and went to two groups daily, otherwise watched movies. I tried to get help from her Kaiser care team to find out what was happening and did not get a call back after several messages. Her follow up was a week after discharge and she has seen the therapist only one other time in six weeks, because the schedule is full.

Erin
Escondido

Referred out of Kaiser due to lack of staff

Published Friday, August 12, 2022 #
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Mental health services with Kaiser are a complete joke, and I’ve made this complaint in the past. The wait time to see a Kaiser clinician is about 3-4 months. Think of all the people that REALLY need immediate support. I was able to get a letter for outpatient services through Kaiser, but this still took about a month to obtain. And I know for a fact that after waiting 3-4 months for a first appointment, they’ll only give you one session every four weeks.

Katie
San Diego

Kaiser is failing patients with mental health conditions

Published Thursday, August 11, 2022 #
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Mental health services with Kaiser are a complete joke, and I’ve made this complaint in the past. The wait time to see a Kaiser clinician is about 3-4 months. Think of all the people that REALLY need immediate support. I was able to get a letter for outpatient services through Kaiser, but this still took about a month to obtain. And I know for a fact that after waiting 3-4 months for a first appointment, they’ll only give you one session every four weeks.

Michael
Castro Valley

Grieving child only seen once in six months

Published Wednesday, August 10, 2022 #
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I’m a public high school teacher and in the spring of 2021, my father-in-law passed. He was one of the most important figures in my childrens’ lives. While balancing my mental health in the most difficult year of my career, I had to then be the emotional support for my wife and my 5-year-old son, who was affected the most by the passing. We anticipated a fair amount of grieving, but after a difficult holiday season, we reached out to Kaiser for mental health services. We made our first contact in early January, and were given the next available appointment two months later in mid March. I attempted to request a referral to Beacon Health but was told that they could not refer children under 6. The first meeting went well, the second meeting was exclusively with parents, and the third meeting was canceled because the doctor was sick – an unavoidable reality, but Kaiser Permanente had no alternative or options for rescheduling, even after we reported self-harm.

In our attempt to build a consistent and safe routine for our son to express and feel confident in his emotions, he has been seen one time in six months. We still cannot get the referral to Beacon Health.

At the same time, I never had my own time to grieve or express my own emotions. I reached out to Kaiser in June and was then ushered through three separate intake phone calls over the next 2.5 months, before I was finally able to speak with a therapist in late September. On the call, the doctor exclusively wanted to talk about my diagnosed ADHD, and would not give me room to discuss my emotional trauma. At one point in the conversation the doctor said, “I used to be a teacher, so I understand what you’re going through…” and closed the conversation with “well, it sounds like the difficult times are behind you now, so let’s schedule our next appointment for the holiday season when you might be triggered again…”. I was left dejected and hopeless. I am still struggling with my mental health.

John
Windsor

Told to wait eight weeks for appointment after rape

Published Tuesday, August 9, 2022 #
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A few years ago, at age 20, I was raped. I was away from most of my friends and family at college. I went to the ED after to receive services, who then referred me to behavioral health services. I called, explained my situation, and was given an appointment eight weeks later. I explained that I was in a crisis, not sleeping, having panic attacks, flashbacks, etc. and really needed help sooner. I was also leaving the state for the summer to go live with my grandparents to a state without Kaiser before the eight weeks. My PCP called and tried to get me in earlier, no luck. We both filled out a petition for me to receive services outside of Kaiser immediately and/or for summer, no luck. So, after I was raped, I was left with no help from a behavioral health provider at Kaiser. No medication, no talk therapy, no approval for outside or tele-therapy. I found a volunteer therapist, and my PCP prescribed medication against his wishes, but knew I needed it. I convinced my parents to change insurance.

McKenzie
San Diego

ADHD therapy sessions are five weeks apart

Published Monday, August 8, 2022 #
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I went in for therapy and was contracted out for therapy.

My son is 7. I have had him go in for psychiatric care since he was 4. It’s been a huge battle with help and finally diagnosis. He cannot be sent out to a contracted company because it’s ADHD therapy. Appointments are five weeks apart. Three were canceled in spring (but no sooner appointments were offered) and had to wait five weeks for another visit. A four-month stretch between appointments with no other choice. He also has an unspecified conduct disorder. This kind of help is bad for that. He needs therapy at least every two weeks, not long stretches. He’s struggling and I am too because of that. Medication only helps so much for ADHD. The therapy should be helping the rest. Also, my 7-year-old son was supposed to be evaluated for tics in another department, but two initial appointments were canceled on Kaiser’s end and messages sent to the department have gone unanswered at this point.

Jennifer
El Cajon

Caregiver is left waiting for own mental health appointment

Published Sunday, August 7, 2022 #
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My husband had an acute mental health issue arise in early 2020. Care has been sporadic. Psychiatrist sees him every 4-6 weeks and only by telehealth. He also saw a series of psychologists every 6+ weeks for over two years. Finally, with the help of a couples counselor – who saw him a total of six weeks and who strongly advocated for him – he has a weekly counselor for at least a year going forward. For the first year (with COVID in the mix) he had a series of “classes” for Mindfulness, CBT, Depression, with around 50 participants online. It was something, but not therapy. There continue to be technology glitches (not helpful for someone with high anxiety) and really no local resources for when in-person services become available. As the caregiver, when I finally requested a counselor for myself, I’ve been waiting six weeks for my first appointment. I don’t know if this will be time limited (6-8 weeks) or ongoing. My husband has recently started TMS treatments, thankfully covered by Kaiser, though not available locally, so he must travel there five days/week.

Naomi
Napa

I pay as much out of pocket for therapy as for insurance

Published Saturday, August 6, 2022 #
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I pay almost $500 out of pocket for insurance as a trans person. I have mental health issues and Kaiser will only give me a therapist if I’m in a group for substance abuse. It’s wrong. I need a therapist and I now pay just as much out of pocket for therapy as I do for insurance. So now I’m paying twice the amount for what? I’ve asked Kaiser to give me therapy for 13 years.

M.
Oakland

Video appointment fails, next one available: seven weeks

Published Friday, August 5, 2022 #
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Today I had a “video appointment” for 8:30 a.m. with my Kaiser psychiatrist. At 8:25 a.m. I logged in as usual, went to “Appointments” and clicked on my doctor’s name and it said “Join Your Visit”. I clicked there and I got this little spinning circle like it was waiting for my doctor to initiate the meeting. I waited 40 minutes…NOTHING. I called the main Walnut Creek Mental Health phone for help. They sent a message to my psychiatrist that I was waiting. She messaged back saying she had been waiting also. They then told me my video time had passed (it was now past 9 a.m.) and the doctor would try to call me “soon”. She called at 10 a.m., but at that point I was busy teaching my online class. I had waited 2.5 months for this appointment. The clinic informed me I could reschedule, but the next video meeting was in seven weeks.

Greg
Walnut Creek

Kaiser makes you jump through hoops to access care

Published Thursday, August 4, 2022 #
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Kaiser makes you wait six weeks before they can connect you with a therapist’s office and even then, choosing one and scheduling takes longer. Their network of therapists is very limited and there’s no good way to vet them and decide if they’re the right fit. It’s pretty much luck of the draw. Speaking with your mental health physician is an even bigger challenge. You have to call the main line and talk to a representative who then connects you with another receptionist and then a nurse who will relay a message to the doctor. There should be a more direct line for non urgent mental health services. As patients, I think we understand that the doctor cannot be at our beck and call at all times, but they really make you jump through hoops to access a specific department. Kaiser should consider reassessing their phone system.

Monsi
Pasadena

On a waiting list for over five months

Published Wednesday, August 3, 2022 #
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I have been on a waiting list since February 6, 2022 for a new psychiatrist after having a bad experience with my current one. My current psychiatrist did not listen to the symptoms I described to him and instead made up his own diagnosis that had nothing to do with what I said. He prescribed me medication that I absolutely do not need and I am not going to take. It would do nothing but make me sleepy. I have been trying to get help for years and I thought Kaiser would finally be the place I could get it. This has to be one of the most disappointing mental health experiences. I want a doctor who will really listen to me.

Emily
Azusa

Therapist appointments are two months apart

Published Tuesday, August 2, 2022 #
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I went to Kaiser after my insurance was changed with prior diagnosis of PTSD and Bipolar 1 disorder. I have a therapist who is good and I have had for years, but my appointments are two months apart. He is regularly late to my appointments to boot due to crises with other patients.

Sam
Sacramento

Waiting more than five months to get therapy

Published Monday, August 1, 2022 #
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The therapy system at Kaiser is absolutely abhorrent. I have waited more than five months to get therapy. For the first three of those months I was severely depressed to the point of having suicidal thoughts. When I would tell my doctors about those thoughts I would get a call asking if I was okay. These calls would make me feel even worse because it made therapy seem more hopeless. My feelings were discounted by my first therapist and when I finally got a therapy voucher, it was for online therapy. I had specifically asked for in-person therapy. Multiple professionals have tried to push group therapy onto all of my family members. Group therapy is not a replacement for one-on-one therapy. Kaiser then told me to contact Alma (an online provider of mental health counseling and support), which had no therapists available with Kaiser insurance. If I was still depressed I would be dead because of this company. If this issue is not resolved I will write a complaint.

Rio
Sebastopol

I was billed $600 for an outside visit Kaiser originally approved

Published Sunday, July 31, 2022 #
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I’ve had yearly renewals to an outside doctor as Kaiser is overloaded with patients. Last year they denied me the referral to the facility I’d been approved for care. I had already had my appointment with my doctor and I was told he was still on the list of their approved doctors for me to see. Then I got several calls from outsourced companies wanting to make an appointment for me. I said I already had an appointment. The day before my appointment I was told I could not go see my doctor because they were not on “their list.” I reminded them they had said he was. I told them I was going to be out of medication and needed my appointment, so they said they’d get back to me. They didn’t call me back until after my appointment and said I wasn’t allowed to go to the appointment and they would not cover the visit I’d had. Now they’re billing me around $600 for the visit they originally said I could keep.

Teresa
Oakley

I gave up and got therapy outside Kaiser to save my life

Published Saturday, July 30, 2022 #
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I am bipolar and suffer from anxiety, depression, and many stressors, but I gave up and got therapy outside Kaiser to save my own life. Trying to get reimbursed by making a complaint and filing a claim with Kaiser did nothing, so now I’m filing a complaint with the DMHC (Department of Managed Healthcare). Kaiser wants to evaluate me now, after denying care for years; now that I am doing better thanks to therapy I’m paying for myself! And if they do approve care (unlikely) they will want to switch me to one of the Kaiser therapists who will see me once or twice and then drop me. I’m staying with my current therapist. My life is worth it. But what do people do who don’t have the resources to pay out of pocket?

Toby
Union City

It took over a month to get a referral for a therapist certified in EMDR

Published Friday, July 29, 2022 #
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Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with CPTSD due to being raped when I was three-years-old. In January 2022, I attempted suicide and I was put on a 72-hour hold. When Kaiser released me, it took them over a week to get back to me to discuss my care. For three weeks, they kept scheduling assessment after assessment, but no care plans were provided. After I complained, they eventually put me in a PHP/IOP program, which I didn’t find helpful. I told them that I needed to see a therapist that specializes in EMDR. The therapists at the PHP/IOP program agreed with me. It took over a month to get a referral for a therapist certified in EMDR. I saw the therapist once for an intake appointment, but a future appointment wasn’t scheduled. When I told the therapist that I need to see someone on a weekly basis, she told me that I was being “inpatient” and “too demanding.” I don’t think it is unreasonable for a rape victim to see a therapist on a weekly basis. I’m feeling totally and utterly defeated.

Megan
Thousand Oaks

After inadequate mental health services for my daughter, we filed a grievance and got one monthly therapy session

Published Thursday, July 28, 2022 #
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My 22-year-old daughter has repeatedly requested mental health services. Her initial phone interview (about two years ago) to assess her situation was apparently never properly recorded and there was no follow up. Additional phone calls got her nowhere. She and I physically went into the Kaiser adult psychiatry department twice to plead for help and services. Addiction got added to the mix. Their dual diagnosis program did little to adequately address the mental health problems she struggles with. I’m not even sure what they have her disorder listed as. We went to an outside clinic (psychiatrist) to get an assessment and diagnosis. The verbal recommendation was an intensive therapeutic program. Filing a grievance with Kaiser got us assigned an outside community resource representative and one monthly therapy session. My daughter is still without adequate services and is now facing homelessness. She copes by using drugs and alcohol. Harm to self or others can’t be far off.

Louise
Folsom

I spent six weeks seeking a referral for a drug treatment center for my son

Published Wednesday, July 27, 2022 #
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My son was waiting for rehab treatment for drug abuse disorder and the addiction specialist said Bayside (a drug treatment center) would suit him the best. However, there was about a 10-day wait list at the time which made me anxious, but I agreed to the referral.

Things got worse a lot quicker and I asked for a different referral, but I would never get a hold of the person I needed to speak with or he just simply was not available. This went on for approximately six weeks.

My son was willing to go to treatment, but soon his drug use became more severe and then he changed his mind.

I really feel the window of opportunity was not taken seriously. I asked for multiple referrals but I didn’t need a referral to Jess Bayside, especially since they didn’t have room. It was a very strange cat-and-mouse game. At times I felt I was losing my mind after hearing these other stories. Now I can tell it has happened to them as well, but in different ways. I started seeking help myself at the end of February calling the Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Psychiatry and Chemical Dependency Services. It is April and still nothing for me.

Taylor
Novato

My wife and I have been waiting several months for couples therapy

Published Tuesday, July 26, 2022 #
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My wife and I are in our seventies. We have been Kaiser members for over 30 years. We suffer from numerous degenerative and life threatening illnesses and have lived in an Assisted Living facility for fifteen months. The facility was frequently in lockdown as a result of COVID. The stress has been overwhelming. I went through individual counseling, then we were told we had to go through four group counseling sessions before we could receive couples therapy. We completed group counseling in mid-December and immediately applied for couples therapy. As of February 17, in spite of several requests and promises that a therapist would be assigned, we have not been scheduled.

Joe
Richmond

Kaiser never calls back for appointments

Published Monday, July 25, 2022 #
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I was having severe panic attacks and was very depressed after COVID. I felt like I wanted to end it all. I have five beautiful kids and the fear of leaving them stopped me. I had seen a therapist but because it was within a certain time frame, I called the Kaiser appointment center to do intake again and was told I would get a call back for an appointment after and never did. If something happens to me, Kaiser is at fault. They never call back for appointments; they never want to let you see anyone. This is just out right wrong. I need help but can’t be seen!

Amanda
Moreno Valley

Doctors tell me to meditate and drink tea

Published Wednesday, March 2, 2022 #
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I have a history of bipolar disorder, Chiari malformation, Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, and upper airway resistance syndrome. I haven’t really slept in almost a year. Becoming suicidal, I am suffering physically and mentally and ER doctors tell me to meditate and drink tea. Tell me to keep advocating for myself, but the ER is only for physically dying people. Send me home with referral that I will probably have to wait over a month for. Here’s more money, Kaiser, for nothing in return. Maybe they will care about mental health if I jump off the top of their parking garage. Makes me wonder if my sacrifice would change things to help others who are suffering.

Kaleena
Oakland

I’ve waited nine months for little help

Published Wednesday, February 2, 2022 #
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Last year in April my son-in-law was murdered outside of his and my daughter’s residence. He left behind a two-year-old daughter. This was a huge loss, and the fear that something also may happen to my daughter was tearing me apart. I was suffering from many issues including depression, major anxiety, panic attacks, and other debilitating symptoms. I ask for a referral to get some mental help. I was told someone would call me and so on. I have suffered mentally since then to the point I feel like it has caused some permanent damages to my life and mental capability. I made a grievance with Kaiser and again nothing. I even went as I far to make a complaint to the state. I received a message from a clinician, who set me up with a first visit with someone, supposedly, but wasn’t allowed to pick a date or time. They basically said, “Here you go, be there or don’t, but here’s your appointment [when I was at work].” After nine months of torture. I have lost work and still am suffering.

Tricia
Redwood City

I’m not being seen and my symptoms are increasing

Published Wednesday, January 26, 2022 #
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I suffer from anxiety , depression, chronic pain. I had a therapist who retired after three years in treatment. I was transferred to another therapist who I did not feel comfortable with. They talked about themselves and I was told I had to go to group. Another therapist in chronic pain helped me to get a new therapist but I also had to go to group. That was in November. Just this month, I was discharged from group and individual therapy because I said I was making progress. I was making progress because I was in therapy. Now I am not being seen by anyone and symptoms are increasing. I have had a meltdown after being discharged. I need to be seen for therapy on-going.

Lashanda
Walnut Creek

No personalized care from Kaiser

Published Wednesday, January 19, 2022 #
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The only solution for my own mental health challenges from Kaiser was to prescribe meds. You don’t get to see a doctor, and then they want to go to a group therapy session, which I never found helpful (and at times made me feel worse). No personalized care. Been an employee and a member for 38+ years. Very disappointed with care I have received.

Christopher
San Diego

In abusive relationship with Kaiser mental health

Published Wednesday, January 12, 2022 #
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Every provider I’ve come across at Kaiser has been incredibly caring and thoughtful, even if they weren’t a good fit. They try to support you as best they can. Support groups tide you over if you’re in relatively stable shape and if you’re in bad shape IOP gets you to more care and at least a weekly appt with a therapist while you’re in there, but if you’re between those two levels it’s very, very hard. I’m with Medi-cal and life circumstances leaves me with very little income. I feel lucky to have help at all, and powerless to get more help. And when I do see my therapist, he’s so helpful. I’m afraid to lose him. Like this is better than nothing. In many ways I feel like I’m stuck in an abusive relationship with Kaiser mental health.

Nam
Walnut Creek

No one has called to reschedule or explain

Published Wednesday, January 5, 2022 #
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I have waited months to receive mental health care. I was assigned an internal novice family and marriage counselor. Those are not my issues. They told me the do not have psychologists. I was told originally I could go outside but then my request was denied. I was also told my insurance (Medicare) does not cover. Member Services said that was not true. They canceled my appointment yesterday as I waited to be seen. No one has called to reschedule or explain. I have been denied services internally and externally.

Masimo Alexis
Pasadena

Referred to a contracted mental health clinic that was terrible

Published Wednesday, December 29, 2021 #
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My experience with Kaiser mental health has been awful for the last nine years. They referred me to a contracted mental health clinic that was terrible. I was seen by different therapist and/or therapists were constantly leaving. I would have to wait in the waiting room for an hour and there was a new receptionist being trained each time I went in. One time when I went in, the receptionist told me, “I let the doctor know you are here.” An hour later, the doctor finally called me back and said he was eating his lunch and didn’t know I was there. I went to a private therapist and asked my primary care doctor to prescribe my antidepressant meds … My primary care doc said this is a big problem with his employer, KP.

Lori
Palm Desert

It took very long to get help

Published Wednesday, December 22, 2021 #
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I was seeking mental health help due to a loss of family member. It took very long to get help. My overall experience has been pleasant when I was receiving help. They gave me good service once I was attended to. I feel like I still need therapy, but the hours offered through Kaiser were terminated so I have to seek outside mental healthcare.

Muhammed
Downey

I am a healthcare provider myself, and am shocked and disgusted

Published Wednesday, December 15, 2021 #
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I had a mental health intake with Kaiser on October 26, 2021. During this intake I expressed an active suicidal ideation and described severe abuse that I had recently been a victim to. The intake practitioner noted that I scored very high on a PTSD assessment and recommended an urgent appointment for therapy. The appointment I was given is scheduled for January 31, 2022 — over 3 months from the initial phone call. I filed a grievance with Kaiser on November 16, 2021 stating negligent services and requesting an external referral. I was told that there would be a minimum 30 days until I hear back on a decision from Kaiser. Upon calling the department of psychiatry for a sooner appointment, I was told the first available was March 3, 2022. I am a healthcare provider myself and am shocked and disgusted by the gross negligence within this system for mental health services. In my opinion this system is criminal and clearly harms the patients seeking care.

Marie
San Francisco

Kaiser health care has basically left me for dead

Published Wednesday, December 8, 2021 #
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Iv’e been with Kaiser off and on for a while now dealing with severe depression and anxiety. I cannot get an appointment with a therapist and have to see and pay for an outside therapist. When I came back to Kaiser, it was a three month wait to get an appointment with a psychiatrist. I was ALLOWED four weeks of disability due to the severity of my symptoms. I have feelings of suicide every day and needed someone to come and stay with me for my safety. My doctor knows this. I asked for additional disability time as I cannot function until my new meds start to work and I can hopefully get things under control. Kaiser has a new rule: a FMLA board has to approve all disability requests. Mine was denied. The nurse left me a message letting me know. Now I am in a position of losing my home. Added stress and anxiety.I wonder what it takes to actually get mental health care? I thought I was being brave reaching out for help. I don’t know what to do. Kaiser health care has basically left me for dead.

Colleen
Santa Ana

I wouldn’t let Kaiser Mental Health touch me with a 10 foot pole

Published Thursday, October 28, 2021 #
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I wouldn’t let Kaiser Mental Health touch me with a 10 foot pole! They don’t know what they are doing. I pay out of pocket for my mental health care. I know — I am lucky.

Karen
Fairfield

I have feared for my daughter’s life

Published Tuesday, October 26, 2021 #
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Thank goodness I work at home because I have feared for my daughter’s life. She is constantly asking for more frequent appointments with a therapist. She is currently at once per month and often has a meeting cancelled, so she goes two months between appointments while her emails begging for care are completely ignored. I have her sleep in my room from fear of her doing something because she wants to give up. This has been going on for over a year and it’s not getting any better. When I ask about getting outside care they quickly schedule an appointment, but then it goes back the next month.

Michael
Stockton

My therapist tried so hard to help me…

Published Thursday, October 21, 2021 #
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I was born in a Kaiser Hospital. I’ve been on Kaiser for most of my life, and swapped to Kaiser whenever I had the chance to through my employer. The healthcare I’ve been given I considered the epitome of how a well-run health care system should be, an oasis in our otherwise broken American health care system. That is, until I needed help healing my mind, not my body. I could tell my therapist was trying so hard trying to get in additional appointments that we thought were critical. But their calendar was booked hard, and well, the most they could do was refer me to other programs.
All of this was before the pandemic. I can’t imagine how much worse it is now.

K.
San Francisco Bay Area

I have no trust in Kaiser making patient care a priority

Published Tuesday, October 19, 2021 #
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I contacted Kaiser in the beginning of December 2020 to get help for a severe depression. I was referred to a therapist, but had to wait until March 2021 for my first session. I was only able to have one visit per month, and after the third visit, the clinician told me that he could only see me one more time. The next appointment was two months later with a LCSW, and he canceled the day of my appointment. There was also some confusion about in in-house sessions and ones that are outsourced. I guess my coverage only paid for one, and I’m still confused about the bureaucratic hurdles placed in my way. I was left feeling frustrated and angry. I’m still struggling nearly a year later, but I have no trust in Kaiser making patient care a priority. Kaiser makes billions, but mental healthcare is severely rationed so some people will die as a result. Only wealthy people in this country have full access, and this is shameful.

Paula
San Francisco

Kaiser refers patients out to providers with no availability

Published Thursday, October 14, 2021 #
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I am a therapist who contracts with Beacon to provide mental health services to Kaiser patients. My practice has been full for about six months, and I have had to turn down dozens of people desperate for help. I always feel sympathy for people who are in need of help and cannot find it because so many contracted providers are full.

Marjorie
Oakland

Kaiser doesn’t consider me “severe” enough to help

Published Tuesday, October 12, 2021 #
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I was removed from Kaiser to the county system due to being “too severe” a patient. I requested to go back to Kaiser, as the county system is overworked as well. I made an appointment in December 2018 for a therapy appointment in March 2019. The appointment was canceled the day of and was rescheduled for May 2019. I was told that I was no longer eligible for the higher care they provide to certain patients due to the lack of severity of my symptoms. I no longer tried to make another therapy appointment, as being seen by a therapist four times a year isn’t conducive to the care that I require for my symptoms, but since my symptoms are controlled by medication, I am not considered severe by Kaiser anymore.

Melinda
Bostonia

Needed therapy, referred to a group that wasn’t even available

Published Thursday, October 7, 2021 #
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I brought my daughter to see a therapist after she was diagnosed with learning disabilities and an autoimmune disorder. I was shocked when I told by the therapist who conducted the intake: “We don’t provide individual therapy. I can refer your daughter to a group, but we don’t have a group right now with children her age.” I sought individual treatment for her outside of Kaiser and paid out-of-pocket for weekly therapy. I am a clinical psychologist and my newest referral in my private practice is a Kaiser patient who was told she could not receive mental health services because her case was not acute and she was not suicidal.

AJ
Walnut Creek

This feels like care delay and denial — for an often fatal illness

Published Tuesday, October 5, 2021 #
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My daughter has anorexia. She has been hospitalized by Kaiser in the past for heart problems due to her eating disorder. She has participated in their Intensive Outpatient Program (not helpful). She relapsed recently. We are asking for out-of-network support. Dr says that what KP has in house is equivalent (its not — by a long shot). Also being told out kid doesn’t have the “unique” issues that would warrant referral. They say the provider we want to see would be great and they have a lot of faith in them, but that OUR daughter doesn’t qualify to see them — but we aren’t told why or according to what criteria. This feels like care delay and denial — for an often fatal illness.

Elena
San Rafael

Denied therapy, referred to a program that isn’t working

Published Thursday, September 30, 2021 #
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For five months, our once healthy child without any mental health issues has now been in and out of six mental hospitals, three residential programs, three outpatient programs, three county stays, multiple emergency room visits, and now an ineffective and redundant IOP program. All the while, our kid’s depression is still a daily struggle. When we tell the Kaiser IOP therapist and the facility manager about the struggle and request directly someone to work with our child individually – we are denied, two times. We are being denied intensive one on one therapy and constantly referred to a program that isn’t working.

Rachel and Terry
Pleasanton

Waiting ten weeks for a basic intake appointment

Published Tuesday, September 28, 2021 #
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I have a history of severe clinical depression. When I sensed a depressive episode coming on I contacted Kaiser and asked to see a different therapist. That simple request meant I am waiting 10 WEEKS to get a basic intake appointment.

I tried multiple times to call and find a workaround. I filed a grievance and an appeal with Kaiser; both were denied. They claim that they are offering care with a psychiatrist and group therapy (via Zoom.) Any mental health practitioner will tell you that those two things are tools, but not a replacement for 1:1 therapy with a mental health practitioner.

In the end, I am paying out of pocket to ensure I get the care I need in a timely fashion. Ten-week delays are potentially dangerous for someone with depression.

This is the third time in four years that I have been in a situation where Kaiser makes it so difficult to access 1:1 therapy that I have had to go out of network and pay out of pocket. This is not a COVID issue. It’s a Kaiser issue.

Rachel
Oakland

Obviously I have no mental health insurance

Published Tuesday, September 21, 2021 #
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I am in crisis. I’m a caregiver to a severely disabled elderly mother and a caregiver to my spouse who has Parkinson’s. My work life has been turned upside down by the pandemic. I am depressed, irritable, and exhausted, and totally in need of some mental health support. After my intake at Kaiser I was told to call Foresight Mental Health, who is an outside contractor. They told me they had no openings in their network. Kaiser then referred me to Beacon Mental Health and I was given lists of their therapists to contact. I called almost all of them, and only two called back to say they had no openings. At that point, after three months of getting the runaround, I contacted an old therapist of mine and I’m seeing her private pay. I can’t afford to see her more than twice a month. I need more than that. Kaiser has failed. Obviously I have no mental health insurance.

L.
San Francisco

It’s all about profit, not care

Published Thursday, September 16, 2021 #
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I have had Kaiser on and off for decades. They have THE worst mental healthcare. In addition to delayed care, they have cookie cutter care. An actual flow chart to what they will prescribe and it’s never the most cutting edge; their formulary is the cheapest. All about profit, not care. It takes months to transfer meds. from other insurance provider; often running out having to go to ER to prescribe when desperate. They preferred to prescribe ADD meds off label for treatment-resistant depression, rather than to try a promising newer med. After leaving Kaiser, I was given that new med. and had almost instant improvement.

Lisa
Vista

No help for my struggling daughter

Published Tuesday, September 14, 2021 #
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My youngest daughter was in the emergency room twice within the last year for serious cutting (she has bi-polar, borderline personality disorder and ADHD), and they discharged her with a note “nothing concerning” on the discharge papers after she had cut her wrist the deadly way. After I filed a complaint, they offered her a DBT class and then cancelled it without telling her. Since then, we have not been able to get her any treatment. Last week, to no one’s surprise, she tried to cut her own throat and ended up in a 72-hour psych hold. They have her in outpatient therapy for suicide prevention, but are not addressing her underlying diagnosis. I pay out of pocket for DBT therapy ($2K/mo) and hired a $600/hour psychiatrist to diagnose her bi-polar and borderline, but it is putting me in the poor house. The only progress made with this last visit is that she now has a KP psychiatrist and is on some new meds for the ADHD. I am traumatized from all of this and hope my girl stays alive.

Barbara
Oakland and Los Angeles

I’m paying more to get the care I need

Published Thursday, September 9, 2021 #
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After struggling for years with body dysmorphia, I reached out to mental health services through Kaiser. It took me two different therapists with month-long waiting periods and multiple cancelled appointments with part-time therapists before I decided to find an out-of-pocket therapist. Now I pay$65 a session instead of $25, but I have consistent appointments every week.

Paige
San Marcos

I tried to get an appointment and gave up

Published Tuesday, September 7, 2021 #
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One time I finally got an appointment at Bostonia. The person I met with asked very basic questions. She typed word-for-word what I said, but I could not tell her any problems. Never went back. I had an appointment at La Mesa, and the woman I talked to again asked very basic questions. She typed everything I said and changed my medication. It took me a long time to get my medication straightened out, and then I never went back. I tried recently to get an appointment and it was so far out I gave up. I am diagnosed with severe depression and told them I was very depressed when I called.

Ruth
Various locations

Treating people this way discourages them from seeking help

Published Thursday, September 2, 2021 #
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I think it’s incredibly damaging, when you reach out repeatedly and no one is there to help. It’s difficult when this has been a pattern in your life and it gets repeated in the context of seeking professional help. I tried to make it work. I did the “intake,” which was not a therapy appointment — I was cut off from talking and then I shut down emotionally as a result. At the intake I was told I could book with a former therapist and that’s what I ended up doing. I was going to wait two months for an actual appointment, and then my appointment was cancelled with no notice to me. My medical record states that a voicemail was left on my phone but that’s not true. I only found out my appointment had been cancelled after I logged into my online account. The pandemic has contributed to my feeling socially disconnected. Trying to get help through Kaiser Permanente made that worse, but treating people this way makes sense if you want to discourage them from seeking help.

C.
San Leandro

It has been a battle to receive proper mental health care

Published Tuesday, August 31, 2021 #
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I’ve been a Kaiser member 2018 and it has been a battle to receive proper mental health care the whole time. It takes weeks to receive an appointment — this was true before COVID and it’s even harder now. When you finally receive one, you’re on a time restraint of one hour, even if the appointment did not begin on time. Once your hour is up, it’s up. They are quick to push the meds but don’t offer proper therapy. When I expressed that I needed more therapy, not meds, I was told that my condition would not improve without medication, and that the reason I felt I needed therapy was because I was not taking the medication. I’ve made several complaints, even physically went into member services office and all they did to help was call into the department and get me an expedited appointment, After that it was the same thing. Nothing has changed.

Amanda
West Covina

I waited eight weeks between psychiatrist visits

Published Thursday, August 26, 2021 #
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I waited eight weeks between psychiatrist visits. All she did was give me medications, all of which made me feel worse. Therapy included video visits in chat rooms with other people. That’s no help at all.

Mary
San Rafael

I can only talk to a counselor about every 3 months

Published Tuesday, August 24, 2021 #
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My husband, my sister, and my son died within three months of each other, but I can only talk to a counselor about every three months. I need more.

Verna
Vacaville

Still waiting for help, two months later

Published Thursday, August 19, 2021 #
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It took so long for me to reach out for help because I was ashamed to admit I had bad depression and anxiety. “I work as a nurse, so I should have it together,” was my thinking. Then for days all I could think of was I’d be better off not alive. It was so bad I even drove to the ER. I was told another company would reach out to me to continue care … that was 2 months ago.

Beatriz
Northern California

I don’t know what would happen in an actual crisis situation

Published Tuesday, August 17, 2021 #
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I have an excellent psychiatrist but I can’t see her nearly often enough. It takes weeks to set up an appointment. I don’t know what would happen in an actual crisis situation.

Margo
Otay Mesa

It took 6 months to get a therapist

Published Thursday, August 12, 2021 #
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I joined kaiser’s mental health services almost two years ago. First it took about 6 months to get a therapist, once I did we only had sessions once every two months. That only lasted less than a year then I got a lame excuse on why I can’t see my therapist anymore.

Korrie
Sacramento

 

I gave up on getting an appointment

Published Tuesday, August 10, 2021 #
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I tried recently to get an appointment and it was so far out I gave up. I am diagnosed with severe depression and told them I was very depressed when I called.

Ruth
Bostonia

I have spent $40K out of my own pocket to receive reasonable care

Published Thursday, August 5, 2021 #
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The executives will not be moved by the truth. They will only change policy if it costs them more in lawsuits than to provide care. I have spent more than $40,000 out of my own pocket to receive reasonable care. Most people don’t have the money to go out of pocket, so Kaiser mental health patients are dying while waiting for help. I would likely be dead too if I didn’t have the financial and emotional support of family. My therapist ended up leaving the office because she would rather do psych calls in an ER than not be able to provide the care her patients needed.

Marny
Folsom

Advocating for myself while managing my issues alone is extremely exhausting

Published Tuesday, August 3, 2021 #
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It has been more than eleven months now since I expressed that I need to see a different therapist, and I am still without mental healthcare. I have been shunted off to two other mental health providers who have given me the runaround for months. Every time I contact Kaiser about my frustrations I am met with wonderful but equally frustrated people trying their best to work with a useless system. I am working with a wonderful Kaiser psychiatrist for medications but pills alone are not helping. I’m working on getting into group therapy for some of my concerns, but they are not remotely comprehensive. Advocating for myself while managing my issues alone and working full time is extremely exhausting and I’m at my wits’ end.

Crystal
San Francisco

I have been denied care

Published Thursday, July 29, 2021 #
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I had an intake telephone appointment with a LCSW yesterday and after having b been diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety/panic disorder.  I was told that there were no appointments available through November and that there could not be an appointment made for me at this time. I was then offered a group class on “coping skills” in mid-September. Essentially, I have been denied care.

Angie
Stockton

I left Kaiser because of the lack of mental health care

Published Friday, July 23, 2021 #
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I was dealing with a severe crisis and needed to see a counselor badly. When I tried to make an appointment, I had to wait for weeks! It was so frustrating, I couldn’t my get the help I so badly needed at the time. Thank God I had a friend whose husband was a licensed counselor, and I was able to go to him. otherwise I don’t know what I would have done. I finally left Kaiser because of the lack of mental health care there.

Cindy
South Sacramento

No support for people with eating disorders

Published Thursday, July 22, 2021 #
This page is also available in:   English  

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Despite this fact, Kaiser has woefully inadequate services available. Instead of providing adequate facilities and sufficient specialized professionals, Kaiser defaults to one-size-fits-all group therapies. I am only able to see an eating disorder specialist in person one-on-one once every month — if I’m lucky.

Sarah
Pleasanton

Kaiser puts vulnerable kids at risk

Published Tuesday, July 20, 2021 #
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Kaiser’s mental health services are abominable and put vulnerable, at-risk children and teens at further risk than when they came in the door. Something desperately needs to change.

Patricia
Santa Rosa

Their services for mental health care are abysmal

Published Wednesday, July 14, 2021 #
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We have belonged to Kaiser for well over 25 years. Their services for physical healthcare are exceptionally good. However, their services for mental health care are abysmal. We have a 23-year-old son with autism. Since he was three years old we have attempted to get services through Kaiser‘s mental health department. It wasn’t until we went outside of Kaiser that we could actually get his autism diagnosis. We try to secure him regular therapy appointments with Kaiser, but they could only provide appointments once every 4 to 6 weeks — hardly enough for a child suffering from depression and anxiety.

Gen
Sacramento

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