Skip to Content

Beds Not Bars

Beds not bars!That’s the message a local advocacy group is sending to the County Board of Supervisors.The board is in the middle of its annual budget hearings. On the chopping block–mental health contract services.But one concerned citizens group, called Families Act, says not so fast.According to members of Families Act…not only would it be detrimental to the county to cut services for the mentally ill…they say Santa Barbara and the surrounding cities are lacking beds and long term treatment for those in need.Suzanne Reid explains, “I love my son, and I’m here to fight for him.”Reid’s son has Paranoid Schizophrenia. After living on the streets, he was recently admitted into the hospital for treatment for an infection.Before he was released, his mother urged hospital officials to release him to a mental health facility for treatment.”I called and I requested a bed, assured he wouldn’t be discharged onto the street.”But–that’s not what happened.”At 5:40 Friday, he was discharged–homeless, fragile, confused. And for a day and a half I didn’t know where my sick son was.”She was told there was not enough room for her son. She joined many others with similar stories, to urge the County Board of Supervisors not to cut mental health services.”The idea of cutting the number of acute beds is preposterous, and unacceptable,” laments Suzanne Riorden.Supervisor Salud Carbajal says, “county government is still grappling with the downturn in revenues, and right sizing our expenditures to those revenues.”They have been considering the cuts to help balance a 15 million dollar gap in the 2013 fiscal year budget.”It is a painful process,” says Carbajal, “just maintaining funding is the goal.”Meanwhile, members of Families Act say, the county needs to do more than that.”We have a tremendous crisis going on in our community in terms of people with mental health issues untreated, they’re going to jail and ending up on the street,” says Riorden.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

News Channel 3-12

Email the News Channel 3-12 Team


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content