Press Release: Mental health therapists launch digital ad campaign, pressuring Kaiser Permanente to provide timely mental health care

KaiserJuly 16, 2019

Mental health therapists launch digital ad campaign, pressuring Kaiser Permanente to provide timely mental health care

One week after rejecting inadequate contract proposals from Kaiser Permanente that failed to address the desperate struggle patients face in accessing mental health care, Kaiser caregivers are rolling out a digital advertising campaign calling on Californians to demand Kaiser fix its mental health care system. 

The campaign, undertaken by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, demonstrates the firm resolve of Kaiser’s nearly 4,000 mental health clinicians to secure timely care for their patients and the staffing necessary to deliver it.

“Kaiser says it wants its members to thrive, but our patients are struggling to just survive because they can’t wait months to see a therapist,” said Tanya Veluz, a therapist at Kaiser’s Pasadena clinic where many patients must now wait more than three months for an appointment. “We want a contract that allows us to help our patients get better. To achieve that, Kaiser must hire a lot more clinicians.”

The digital advertising campaign will target several hundred thousand civically engaged Californians. People engaging with the ads will be provided information on Kaiser’s mental health crisis. They will also be asked to sign a petition and share the information on social media to help hold Kaiser accountable until it significantly improves access to mental health care. Ads will begin appearing this week as caregivers seek to resume negotiations with Kaiser management over a new labor pact for psychologists, therapists, social workers, and psychiatric nurses.

“We’re not asking for anything Kaiser can’t afford to do.” NUHW President Sal Rosselli said. “As we press management to return to the bargaining table and work out the concrete details of how to address Kaiser’s mental health crisis, it’s important to have Californians focused on this struggle to hold Kaiser accountable. 

NUHW members last week overwhelmingly rejected Kaiser’s “best” contract offer, which failed to provide immediate relief for a mental health system that is plagued by long waits for care, understaffed clinics, and unsustainable patient loads for clinicians. Clinicians are seeking a contract that will significantly boost staffing to reduce appointment wait times, help patients in crisis and allow time for caregivers to perform patient care duties such as responding to patient calls and emails that too often must be done outside working hours.