States Need to More Widely Support Alternative Mental Health Therapies

In a world where stability and security are often taken for granted, the journey of those who have grown up in the foster care system is one marked by immense challenges and emotional upheaval. For individuals like myself, whose childhood was marred by constant change and uncertainty, the scars left behind run deep and can seem insurmountable.

My personal story is one of loss, abandonment, and the quest for healing. From a young age, my family was torn apart by circumstances beyond our control, leading me down a path of multiple foster homes and a perpetual sense of displacement. The trauma of these experiences manifested in severe mental health issues, including PTSD, anxiety, and depression, that seemed to overshadow any hope of a brighter future.

As I completed college and entered the workforce, it became clear to me that both youth services and adult services alike need to be effective at practically improving people’s lives. I have come to view mental health care in a new light as modern treatments become available. This is not to say medications do not play a role, but I think state and federal funding should be more focused on non profit or companies focused on more individually centered treatment options.

I found after years that alternative healthcare worked. For different people this can mean different things.

Amidst the darkness, however, a glimmer of hope emerged in the form of therapy. Through consistent sessions and the exploration of EMDR therapy, I began to confront the inner demons that had plagued me for so long. It was during this healing journey that I stumbled upon an event that promised to delve deep into the root causes of physical and emotional pain.

Through breathwork and guided introspection, I was able to unearth hidden traumas and connect them to the physical symptoms that had plagued me for so long. The nausea, jaw clenching, sweating, and other sensations I experienced during the session were not merely physical discomforts, but manifestations of deeper emotional wounds – fear of abandonment, financial insecurity, anxiety, anger, and stress. Being able to approach wellness in a holisitc way changed my perspective on modern mental health treatment.

One of the most profound moments of my time in therapy was the realization of unresolved anger and feelings of abandonment towards my late grandparents. Revisiting these emotions in a safe and supportive environment allowed me to release the pent-up resentment and gain closure that I had not even known I needed. The understanding of the mind-body connection and the power of healing past traumas was a revelation that has set me on a new path towards self-discovery and emotional well-being. Learning about alternative mental health modalities has now pushed me to create and scale speaking opportunities for women and those in at risk communities.

For me it was EMDR therapy. For others it can be different things. Ketamine therapy was visited in a New York Times piece I read last year, that I know many Veterans use. This is working for many people. These are the alternative therapies that needed to be studied and supported by state governments.

While I support the State of California in providing increased funding and legislative support for treatments and substance abuse programs, they are failing. I am not a political person and I do not partake in partisan politics. This is experiential for me and many women I know, we are seeing record funding to aid in substance abuse and yet California is the laughing stock of homelessness services and I fear these funds will be wasted. It is more funding for a problem that needs a policy solution. The policy should be studying and funding things that are working.

The state government should fund nonprofits that engage in retreats or alternative therapies that likely would save money and produce real stories of success. I reviewed a press release from the Governor that had no real meaning to me. I want to see state and local governments supporting alternative therapies.

The final conclusion that has me convinced that a policy solution could curtail the troubling statistics on homelessness and substance abuse is that coming from the foster system did not illustrate generic solutions as the answer. The answer is widening the possibilities and listening to real success stories and finding speakers and organizations that are making a difference and the target of real recovery. Whether the treatment selection is ketamine therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or a retreat with like-minded people it cannot be generic and dated.

Having come from the system I know we need to look outside of the most prominent treatment modalities of pharma produced drugs and state budgetary priorities and listen to real people that are finding healing pathways tailored to their unique situations.