I have been here two and a half years, a single mother of my 33-year-old son with serious chronic mental illness.

People with mental illness need to be respected and treated with kindness instead of being feared and avoided. I just cannot understand how such a wealthy county does not have case manager navigators to take someone like me by the hand and help people like me — caregivers — find affordable, competent help, resources, places for our loved ones to live and get help. I was hoping for that somewhere in the U.S.A., but it seems to be a delusion, a mirage.

A family member told me once my son was my burden to be dealt with on my own and not to bother others with. This is how the whole world seems to feel except for organizations like NAMI, Schizophrenia and Psychosis Action Alliance, and Hearing Voices Network.

But my son and I need more help than just support groups. I work full time, which doesn’t leave me with a lot of time or energy to do tons of research. I, and many others in my shoes, would appreciate help.

Once my son lived in Poca, WV. A whole group of recovering people his age came over to welcome him and drive us to resources — places he could get help. West Virginia, one of the poorest states in the U.S.A. Santa Barbara should be ashamed.


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