Carmen: Learning about the Mental Healthcare System

Carmen focuses her learning about mental health specific to Lily’s needsunderstanding her medications, how to access social security disability, and the challenge of finding a psychiatric bed. She also learned about the resources and policies in mental health systems in three different states. During the series of three emergency room visits, on one of the visits, Carmen ended up taking Lily home and monitoring her because a psychiatric bed was not available. Emergency rooms are a difficult experience for Lily.

Especially in a regular ER or regular hospital and even people in the public not understanding her disorder and being short and rude. That’s really difficult to watch. She handles it. She gets very defensive. She doesn’t handle it the best way. She barks back.

Also, Carmen has encountered “wonderful” mental health professionals who have provided services to Lily. She commented, “My sister’s therapist and psychiatrist are wonderful and have been with her for many years. They have my phone number and are authorized to call if they have concerns.”

As a family member of someone who lives with bipolar disorder, Carmen would like to see more information and emotional support available for family members in the hospital setting. She acknowledges resources are limited but would like to see more support for the primary caregiver and more information about resources and eligibility for programs.

More of the Story: Considering the Future