All the leaves are brown (all the leaves are brown)
And the sky is grey (and the sky is grey)
I’ve been for a walk (I’ve been for a walk)
On a winter’s day (on a winter’s day)
I’d be safe and warm (I’d be safe and warm)
If I was in L.A. (if I was in L.A.)
California dreamin’ (California dreamin’)
The 1960’s song California Dreamin’ paints a utopian picture of the golden state. While California has its perks, many of its residents don’t feel particularly safe, warm, or dreamy. Nearly 1 in 6 Californian adults suffers with a mental health need, and 1 in 20 has a serious mental illness that makes it difficult to fully function. The prevalence is even higher in young people.
While these statistics are sobering, it’s even more concerning that the majority of those suffering are not receiving care. According to the most recent report from the California Healthcare Foundation, half of adults and two thirds of adolescents with mental health needs are not receiving treatment.
Although California’s uninsured rate hit a historic low in 2016, 2.9 million residents remain uninsured.  Those who are insured often have high deductibles and copays, making mental health treatment a luxury rather than a necessity.
A 2008 federal parity law and an older California law require insurance companies to beef up their benefits for mental health and substance abuse treatment, however change occurs slowly within a broken system. A 2014 review of 26 major insurance companies revealed that zero of them were able to prove full compliance with the new regulations.
Inadequate resources complicate the problem. According to the California Hospital Association, the state is experiencing a crisis in the availability of psychiatric beds.A significant downsizing of psychiatric facilities combined with steady population growth has resulted in a 42 percent loss of psychiatric beds per capita since 1995. Because of this crisis, many people don’t receive the inpatient stabilization they need.
In addition to beds, California is also short on psychiatric providers. Most communities need a minimum of one psychiatrist for every 30,000 people (20,000 for higher risk populations). Many California communities fall significantly short of this standard.
Lack of access to care is also influenced by a variety of other factors, including significant racial and ethnic disparities, socioeconomic status, and stigma surrounding mental illness.
How does this play out in the lives of real people? Millions of Californians who need counseling, psychiatry, medication, and intensive treatment, do not receive the care they need. This prolonged suffering greatly compromises an individual’s ability to experience, enjoy, and contribute to life in meaningful ways.
Each day, Beautiful Minds Medical receives multiple phone calls from people in the community who want treatment but are unable to afford it. Each call represents a valuable human being who could potentially recover, grow, and thrive, if only connected with proper resources.
This led psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Binus, to found Beautiful Minds Wellness, a non-profit organization solely focused on expanding holistic mental health services in California and making excellent care available and inviting to those who need it the most. Our organization is seeking sustainable solutions for providing mental health services and education to people from every walk of life.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The numbers are compelling. More importantly, each number represents a real person with struggles, hopes and dreams. Not only California dreams, but dreams of a joyful and purposeful life. Perhaps you know one of these dreamers who’ve given up; your friend, your sister, your spouse, your child. We need your help to make a difference. Join our team as a volunteer or donor. We’d be so grateful and so would they.
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CHANGE A LIFE TODAY
The mind holds an infinite potential to love, hurt, grieve, grow and thrive.