(Lauren Whaley: CHCF Center for Health Reporting)
(Lauren Whaley: CHCF Center for Health Reporting)

In a series they’re calling “Mental Breakdown” the Modesto Bee collaborated with the Center for Health Reporting in a sobering look at how state and county cuts are devastating county mental health departments — by focusing close to home in the Central Valley’s Stanislaus County. Modesto is the county seat of Stanislaus.

Reporters describe people with mental illness who should be in state mental hospitals instead spend weeks in local jails, waiting for beds. Hospital emergency rooms have seen a dramatic increase in mentally ill patients. In all likelihood, counties across California are feeling the same impact.

But the series also speaks of hope. With the right treatment, even people with the most serious mental illnesses can do well — as this short video between father and daughter attests:

You can read more about Matt Freitas and the work he does in his clinic here.


Lisa Aliferis

Lisa Aliferis is the founding editor of KQED's State of Health blog. Since 2011, she's been writing stories and editing them for the site. Before taking up blogging, she toiled for many years producing health stories for television, including Dateline NBC and San Francisco's CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV. She also wrote up a handy guide to the Affordable Care Act, especially for Californians. You can follow her on Twitter: @laliferis

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