Kaiser, Don't Deny
Patients need access to timely and consistent mental health services
My treatment was disrupted midstreamPublished Friday, January 25, 2019
I’ve been a member of Kaiser for about six years. I have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depression Recurrent, and Borderline Personality Disorder. I take many medications to help manage my mental health. However, medication can only do so much.
I made my first suicide attempt was when I was approximately 21 years old.
I became a Kaiser member around 2009 and attempted to get help from their mental health department. I made them aware of my past suicide attempt and behaviors. Instead of being offered individual therapy, I was put in to group therapy. I had to attend this group therapy in order to get medication, but it wasn’t really helping me at all. Then one of the teachers reached out to me and found out I didn’t have an individual therapist at Kaiser. He began working with me individually as much as he could; appointments were scheduled anywhere from six to eight weeks apart, sometimes longer. During one of those waits, I attempted suicide again.
After that, Kaiser tried to push me into group therapy again. I managed to reconnect with the therapist who had helped me before. It was still really hard to have appointments that were so far apart, but I had come to trust him and was making progress. Then he told me he would be leaving Kaiser in 90 days, but I would be able to see him in his private practice.
But less than 90 days later, a day before my next appointment, I received a phone call from a receptionist at Kaiser informing me that my therapist would not be able to see me any longer. My treatment was disrupted midstream and my trust felt broken. I again fell into a very deep depression. I started planning suicide again, and this time I was determined to succeed.
But then I happened to Google my former Kaiser therapist, and found out that he had been trying to contact me and his other patients who were in mid-treatment, but he had been let go before his 90 days were up. Despite having to pay out of pocket for the care that Kaiser should have been providing me, I reconnected with my therapist and we began working together right away. I have been able to quit two of my medications, and I have never been better. I made more progress in six months with him in his private practice, than I did in the five years that I saw him at Kaiser.
Having such gaps between appointments doesn’t allow you to build a foundation of trust that is essential in treating mental illness. Many people with mental illness are victims of trauma. Their trust is already so fragile, and you cannot build anything on fragile ground.