Mental Health Awareness Week 2020: What Does a Shocking Story teach us About Mental Health Services?

As of 2020, there are more people out there than ever who are educated about mental health at a basic level. However, people question the effectiveness of mental health services when issues like depression, ADHD, etc., are not being treated properly.

This story comes from a family with their 25 years old son with ADHD issues. Vanessa (Mother) describes that as a young child, Jason had been diagnosed with ADHD and has been facing anger issues for a long time. And she complains about the inefficiency of mental health services as Jason has not been able to receive consistent treatment since 2018, although he was hospitalized nine times!

The first hospitalization of Jason happened on August 31, 2018, when his suffering from visual hallucinations led him to act highly delusional and even break a car window. However, only after four days of Jason’s stay in the hospital, he was discharged. And no follow-up happened by the hospital, and the family claims that Jason received no treatment in the hospital, and his conditions remained the same.

In the journal of World Psychiatry, it is stated that whenever doctors withhold treatment until the conditions get severe, it can be an example of the failure of treatment. It should not be tolerated for issues as delicate as ADHD.

The next occurrence of Jason’s disorders happened after two weeks, as he experienced a psychotic break again. He was hospitalized again in September and got diagnosed with schizophrenia at Las Encinas Hospital. As Jason was now carrying knives, his mother didn’t feel safe and did not like it when she was being pressured to take her son back from the hospital. And after a week, he was discharged, and again no follow-up treatment happened, fading the mother’s trust in the healthcare system for mental disorders.

Jason had been arrested a few times because of his behavior and aggressiveness. And in 2019, even after being hospitalized a few times, Jason’s condition didn’t seem to improve, and his mother complained about hospitals not giving him any real therapy and discharging him fast while Jason’s conditions worsened.

When Woodling attended the Ventura County Behavioral Health Advisory board in 2019, she asked for help by telling her story. And the board helped her by giving her son the treatment program called ASSIST. But their abilities were limited, and even though Woodling was satisfied with their treatment, they could not succeed with Jason.

Woodling had been facing a lot of troubles, as Jason got arrested many times, and she once had to get an attorney for freeing him. And when the county agreed on conservatorship and Jason had to stay in a boarding care home, the conditions of living were not so good there. Bed bugs and the horrible condition of the room was not at all the right treatment for Jason, and his mother had to take him to a hotel where she gave him medication and stayed with him, and Jason was pretty stable. And in July of 2020, Los Robles hospital let Jason go, and he still does not have any help.

The story of Jason makes us wonder about the mental healthcare system, and in the Mental Health Awareness week 2020, we take notes from Jason’s story and make sure that our healthcare should be a blessing instead of a curse for people with mental conditions.