‘They Treat Dogs Better': Mother Says East Bay Health Services Failing to Help Mentally Ill Daughter

A Bay Area mother searching for treatment for her mentally ill daughter says the system is failing.

"They treat dogs better than they do people with mental illness," mother Jackye Collins-McCoy said. "They pick up a dog and get it help and put it on the news and say 'look at the puppy.' This is a human being she deserves help.

Collins-McCoy is desperate to get help for her daugher, Arises Collins.

"I have called every program," she said.

Despite her mental illness, the 26 year old is cycling through psych emergency, jail, shelters and the street.

"The nightmare for me is wondering when I'm going to get that call that says we found your daughter dead," Collins-McCoy said.

In February, Collins-McCoy found a glimmer of hope in Contra Costa County's newly adopted Laura's Law.

David Seidner with Contra Costa Behavioral Health is rolling out the program. His team is connecting with patients where they are, encouraging them to accept treatment.

"We want to disrupt the cycle," Seidner said. "We go to psych emergency when called to help, go to custodial situations and we're going to jails."

Seidner said so far five people have signed up voluntarily for services and his staff has filed one petition with the court requesting court intervention.

Collins-McCoy said she met with three Laura's Law team members.

"All of this information about how many times she was in jail and in the hospital, we're going to go before a judge and get a conservatorship," she said.

Collins-McCoy said it never happened.

The county cannot talk about specific cases because of privacy laws, but said it is committed to getting clients connected with services.

"Her life is the responsibility of Contra County," said Teresa Pasquini, a mental health treatment advocate. "Arises' life is their responsibility."

Pasquini, a former Contra Costa County mental health commissioner, said the system is failing and leaving people like the Collins-McCoy family with nowhere to turn.

"I can't eat, can't sleep. That's my baby," Collins-McCoy said. "There's got to be a way to get her help."

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