* Note from Doni Chamberlain: For the record, I knew better than to ask to discuss Josh Valdez, because I knew I’d hear the answer about privacy and confidentiality. But in my attempts to write a balanced story, I tried to get someone – anyone – at Shasta County Mental Health or Remi Vista to speak generally about their policies and guidelines regarding suicide and youth. My call to Remi Vista with a request to discuss its protocol when dealing with suicidal teens was met with a returned call and a solid no. Likewise, I’ve had no success convincing even retired Shasta County Mental Health professionals to talk about this subject in relation to this story. The letter below was a response from Shasta County Health and Human Services – the umbrella over Mental Health – to my request to speak with anyone at Shasta County Mental Health / Shasta County Health and Human Services about youth and suicide prevention guidelines.
Letter from Maxine Wayda, Director of Children’s Services, Shasta County Health and Human Services
Every suicide is a tragedy and our hearts go out to anyone affected by it. Medical and mental health information is protected from disclosure by strict confidentiality laws. *Therefore, I am unable to confirm whether this boy received any services from the County of Shasta or the Health and Human Services Agency. I can however, discuss the services that the Health and Human Services Agency provides.
The Health and Human Services Agency provides mental health services for children, youth and adults in our community. We care deeply about the well-being and health of each person we serve and we work to decrease the impact of mental illness in Shasta County by promoting wellness and recovery through supportive communities.
Mental Health services may accessed by walking into the 2640 Breslauer Way clinic, or by calling 225-5252 during business hours. Crisis services may be accessed after business hours through the emergency departments at local hospitals.
We strive to provide services tailored to the unique needs of each client and include mental health consumer and family involvement at all levels. The nature and types of services varies among clients based on the needs of each individual client.
People who wish to get involved in local efforts to prevent suicide are encouraged to join the Suicide Prevention Workgroup, which includes people from all walks of life. Learn more at www.shastasuicideprevention.com.
If you or someone you know is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or in an emergency, call 911.