When my son was stricken with schizophrenia in 2008, I had 200 thousand dollars in the bank, my life's savings. Three years later, we were broke. The majority of the money went to self-paid intake and therapy appointments at first; then transportation for him to therapist, labs, doctor appointments, hospital deposits and medical payments. It went to hired "sitters" who checked in on him, or stayed with him, so I could work; it went to outrageously priced medications--upwards of 1300$ for a single monthly injection over 6 months; it went to court and legal fees, parking, cabs, hotels, flights, a supervised housing group home at 5500-6K per month for nearly a year; and to a girl hired to do only insurance paperwork --
It turns out, I'm not alone by a long shot.
Families of severely mentally ill children and young adults, like those with schizophrenia, go bankrupt more than any other families with chronically ill members. This is due to lack of insurability, self-pay requirements for psychiatry, lengthy inpatient stays, exorbitant medication costs, legal fees, and traveling to care. Most post-acute care for serious mental illness is not covered by insurance, so families cannot take advantage of Step-Down programs hospitals offer to bridge the gaps in care between hospital and home. For example, just one week of Step Down care at Johns Hopkins costs $20,000. Additionally, outpatient therapist appointments cost $150 to $250 an hour self-paid. An intake appointment for a Psychiatric Rehab Day Program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital (one hour) and a therapy appointment (one hour) cost $600 each. These forms of high quality care are not covered for many psychiatric illnesses.
When you consider that the stabilization period for a person with severe mental illness – such as schizophrenia – is 10 years, you begin to understand how continuous, appropriate, high-quality care is virtually unattainable for most families without some type of financial help.
Learn More About Serious Mental Illness
HOW PARENTS FOR CARE WILL HELP
PARENTS FOR CARE is an organization that seeks to assist these families financially by donating necessary fees to help families in their journey to care, including plane fare to get to a hospital setting; parking, hotel, transportation and food costs while a child is hospitalized; hospital deposits on uninsured portions; and child care for other siblings.
PARENTS FOR CARE seeks to support families during the most stressful years of psychiatric care through small grants of $250-$5,000 each, tiered or scaled depending on need, and families can apply for them through our website.
HOW WE’LL MAKE GOOD USE OF YOUR HELP
What does $125K purchase for PARENTS FOR CARE?
·$100K will fund family grants for up to 200 families!
·$19K will fund a part-time salary for fiscal years July 2014 through June 2015 for a mental health advocate to administer the grants
·$4K will fund printed promotional materials and items for parents, like notebooks, toiletries or educational materials
·$2K will fund social media and advertising to administer the grants.
** The first person to donate $500 at Gold Level receives a brand New Coach Purse! All other Gold Level donations receive their choice of either fabulous memior: Elyn Saks' "The Center Cannot Hold," or Kay Redfield Jamison's "Unquiet Mind," A Personal Thank You, and Your Name on Our Donation Wall!!
** Donate 100$ and Get a Warm, Personal Thank You Letter and Your Name on Our Donation Wall.
** No Cash Handy? Donate Hotel Points! The first person to donate 100,000 Marriott or Hilton points (an approx. 5 night stay) receives a brand New Coach Purse!
** For a donation in any amount, you'll receive a warm letter of thanks from the family and organization, and have a chance to win a Coach Purse, via our Facebook Page.
** A donation of even $10 buys a Notebook for a parent to document care instructions, directions, or questions he or she may have.
If you’re ready to learn more, here’s a great example of the financial struggle faced by virtually all families of severely mentally ill children:
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