By: A NAMI CA Member
I am the mother of twin daughters living with mental illness in Modesto. One of my daughters is diagnosed Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; my other daughter is diagnosed with Bipolar, Schizoaffective Disorder. They are 42 years old, and were doing relatively well until 7 or 8 years go. There are many barriers to mental health care for them, but not having secure and supportive housing makes consistent treatment impossible.
My daughters shared an apartment together, and sought some treatment services in the community. However, this was not enough support for them. “Daughter W” was hospitalized after some time in this living situation, and was later discharged with no plan and no place to live. She qualified for the Section 8 Certificate Program for affordable housing, but there were no openings. During those weeks immediately following her discharge from the hospital, she was shuffled from one temporary shelter to another. She did not feel safe in these shelters and could not sleep. She wanted to visit me, her mother, but receiving even temporary housing from me would have disqualified her from the affordable housing program and eliminated any possibility of independent living.
After several weeks she was accepted into the program and moved into an apartment close to our residence. It was unusual and very lucky that she received housing this quickly. A couple of times she almost gave up. We encouraged her to stay the course, all the while wondering if we were doing the right thing. We were so glad that she had a place to live. But my daughter needs a spectrum of services in order to live successfully in any location. She would benefit from onsite therapeutic services, transportation to appointments since she is often fearful of venturing out in public or taking public transportation, care coordination and navigation, and basic living services including food prepartion, laundry and cleaning.
My daughter has now deteriorated to the point that she can no longer take care of her basic needs. I help her with her grocery shopping, taking to care to only buy items that do not require cooking like cereal and frozen dinners. We are trying to find a facility that will accept her, but have not been successful. Meanwhile, my daughter has been hospitalized multiple times, each time being held for 72 hours and then being released to the same untenable situation.
I know that both of my daughters can do better, but they need treatment and supportive services that meet their needs.