FOCUS ON PHILANTHROPY: Building Marian Regional Medical Center’s Crisis Stabilization Unit Thanks to the fundraising prowess of several Western Growers members, the Santa Maria hospital improved its capacity to assist those in acute mental health crisis.

By Ann Donahue R ight now, a person having a mental health upheaval—be it suicidal ideation, post-partum depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or extreme anxiety—the first stop will be a trip to the emergency room. If the individual requires additional care from that point, they will likely be forced to travel as far as Ventura or Los Angeles to receive critical and potentially life-saving in-patient treatment. That’s a trip of more than 200 miles away from their support system at the precise time they need to be held close by those who love them. crisis in California’s Santa Maria Valley will have a difficult journey. In the midst of personal This isn’t just a hypothetical situation. The doctors, nurses and staff at Marian Regional Medical Center can provide real-world examples: the nurse who after several emergency room visits had her post-partum depression descend into post-partum psychosis and she started entertaining thoughts of harming her baby; the recent widow kept in the emergency room for 18 hours after suicidal thoughts before being transferred to Ventura via ambulance; the young schizophrenic woman held in the ER for 58 hours before an in-patient bed was located for her in Pasadena. Soon after she was discharged from the Pasadena facility, her auditory hallucinations recurred. “We’re doing everything we can—I don’t want to give you the impression that we’re ignoring them,” said Dr. David Ketelaar, an emergency physician at Marian who is past President of the Center’s medical staff and leads the behavioral health effort at the hospital. “But the right setting for them is private, where you’re addressing the mental health concerns, not in a chaotic emergency department where trauma is happening around them.”

pictured left: George Adam, owner of Innovative Produce and WG board member, on a construction tour of the facility



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