INDIO – Inside the Riverside County Mental Health Rehabilitation center in Indio, the patients will soon be forced to leave.
The word came down. The money is out. This clinic closes June 30.
“We don’t have anything in the Coachella Valley for mentally ill, suicidal type patients,” said nursing student Julie Logan. She also says students like her need these facilities nursing training.
County Supervisors tried but failed to find the $2 million needed to keep the clinic open.
News Channel 3 also confirmed Friday that the Cathedral Canyon Mental Health Outpatient Clinic will also close.
County Mental Health Director Jerry Wengerd said the center, which helps around 500 patients a month, will shut down sometime between April and July.
Nurse Geri Thomspon told News Channel 3 when word first broke of the clinics in danger that the patients did not understand the shut down.
“Some of them tried to understand. We had one patient who asked if this was financial and we said ‘some of it is.’ And they said, ‘I have $3 billion I’ll give you.’ Another patient –her response was ‘I guess I’ll have to move out of the country.’
“One patient said, ‘I guess I’ll have to go and find a job now. I just won’t put on my resume that I was here.’ That’s how they’re looking at this. They really don’t understand what’s happening.”
Some patients will be released back into the hands of loving families. Others aren’t so lucky. Many patients are homeless. There is no place to care for them now until the county can set up new homeless facilities.
“My heart goes out to them,” said Logan. “We have a homeless population that have mental illness. A lot of them are out in the streets and they need a facility such as this with the right medical care, the right medications,and a place to live.”
The mental health emergency room will remain open, but long-term care is over. That leaves staff looking for solutions with no money.
“We will have to pull together and see what we can do,” said clinic administrator Steve Albrecht. “We have to do the best that we can for the patients that we have with the remaining resources and to vigilantly look for alternate resource funding.”