I became involved with the CHOC Walk over 20 years ago, long before I was a parent. In the years since, I have gone from being a volunteer to serving at various times as a team captain, a prize sponsor and a media partner.
Now I'm a CHOC parent. Now it's personal.
As a foster and adoptive parent, I've seen first-hand the impact of abuse, neglect and complex trauma on children.There's a lot of conversation about ending the stigma of mental illness, and CHOC has been at the forefront of this effort for years.
In 2018, CHOC opened the Cherese Mari Laulhere Mental Health Inpatient Center, the ONLY Mental Health Inpatient Clinic in Orange County that treats children under the age of 12. There are just four in Southern California.
CHOC's clinic is also the only one in California where parents can spend the night with their child.
Resources for children with mental illness have always been scarce, but the pandemic has made the situation even more critical. CHOC staff tell me there was a notable increase in psychiatric admissions in the spring and summer of 2020, but the return to "school" has just caused the situation to explode. Mental health professionals say they have NEVER seen the number of cases they're getting right now, and there just aren't enough beds.
Once a child is deemed to be "in immediate risk of suicide or harming others," they are admitted to an ER, where the "bed search" begins. The wait to get a bed can be as long as a week depending on age. CHOC's clinic has room for just 18 kids. There are only 50 beds in all of Southern California for children under age 12.
Imagine your child waiting in an emergency room for a week or more before they could get proper medical treatment for a broken bone or an infected gallbladder.
Imaging being told a treatment bed has been found, but it's in San Diego or Los Angeles, and you won't be permitted to stay with your child.
This is the situation facing parents when their child needs emergency psychiatric treatment. This must change.
I'm asking for your support to help CHOC raise the funds needed to expand their mental health services to care for even more families in Orange County. Although COVID-19 has changed life as we know it, one thing remains the same: children are still counting on CHOC and supporters like us to help them get better.
As a non-profit organization, CHOC relies on community generosity to provide leading-edge care for infants, children and adolescents close to home. Your donation can provide vital resources to patients and families as they face today’s crisis.
Please help me exceed my fundraising goal by:
-Donating now by clicking the "Donate" button above or
-Joining me at this year's event - SAVE THE DATE - Saturday, August 27, 2022 – for the CHOC Adventure in the Park presented by the Disneyland® Resort.
Every dollar counts for kids!