So since my life my life imploded, I’ve gotten free health care from the state of California. This includes access to mental health services. I must say, that when I first entered the building for Central County Adult Mental Health Services in Concord, it looked a bit like the land that time forgot: magazines from the 90’s, carpeting from the 80’s and a distinct smell that is unique to government buildings from the 1970’s.
Did I mention the only road leading to the health center is riddled with potholes? And even though the building is located on one of the main roads in the city, you have to drive behind a Chinese buffet to access the parking lot…and the potholed road is the only way out. But wait, it gets better!
The staff, who are the nicest, most underpaid people in the world, are relegated to a paper system for making appointments. Every day they have to manage hordes of people, some of them in very desperate circumstances, and they still manage to do it with the utmost respect and courtesy.
Today, upon entering the waiting room, I noticed bits of paper littering the floor. Upon closer inspection I realized they were not bits of paper but roach motels. Being one to see the humor (irony?) in everything, I decided the building was like a fine wine that just gets better with age.
This is by no means an indictment of the staff at Adult Mental Health but a scathing indictment of the government branches that control expenditures for county programs! This is a clear indication of the priority or lack-thereof, given to mental health services and people who aren’t able to afford private health insurance. If the staff has to buy roach motels to control a pest problem in the building and has to rely on a paper system of records, they’re obviously not being paid enough for what they do.
What the fuck do we have to do to convince the government that county health services are a worthwhile investment? Maybe I’m asking the wrong question; let me rephrase–“What do we have to do to convince you that WE are a worthwhile investment?” I was listening to Wanda Sykes’ stand-up comedy on the way out and she asked a particularly poignant question–“Why aren’t the police looking for dead prostitutes?” They’ll come out in full force for somebody from a nice neighborhood but won’t waste resources on a prostitute unless a whole bunch of them die.
And that’s the message I get from this–
You’re just not worth it.
When the road to mental health is littered with potholes and the building itself is neglected and infested with pests, how are the people who receive services there supposed to feel? What statement are you making with this? Maybe the next time the county government officials are deciding on expenditures, they can remember their dirty little secret tucked behind the Chinese buffet on Willow Pass Road. Did I mention, this is also the street where battered women are supposed to seek refuge? Some refuge.