We are blessed to have raised three wonderful children, all now grown, happy and contributing members of society.
Fifteen years ago, however, we found ourselves in crisis. Our daughter was diagnosed with severe depression with psychotic overtones. Her lifelong pediatrician, her psychiatrist, her school team and her family agreed that she needed residential care for her own safety. We made the tragically wrong assumption that we’d find help close by, that our daughter would have a chance to regain mental health near to her family, that we’d be able to maintain at least a modified work schedule, that our youngest child would have some consistency in home life. That’s when we learned that no local options for care exist.
In wealthy, compassionate San Luis Obispo County, we were completely lost. Fortunately for our daughter, we found the path to mental health at St. Mary’s Medical Center at UC San Francisco.
There, we left our child in a secure facility with superb doctors and therapists … and we made the 250-mile trip back to SLO to care for our youngest. On three separate crisis-induced hospital stays over the next two years, we’d make the twice-a-week trip from SLO to San Francisco to stand with our daughter and coordinate her treatment.
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Fortunately, we had the (stretched) resources, the understanding bosses and the supportive SLO and S.F. friends that made our daughter’s out-of-town treatment possible.
We hope that few families will never know the intolerable burden of seeking local services for their loved one and finding nothing.
The proposed Templeton psychiatric facility is a critical part of our county’s medical infrastructure for all of our families. Authorize it now.
Sandi Sigurdson and Steve McGrath, San Luis Obispo