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Mental Health Awareness Month

Together for Mental Health

The state of youth mental health in Ventura County and Southern California, as outlined by KCLU’s spotlight, highlights the concerning state of the youth mental health crisis in Southern California. For 2022’s Mental Health Awareness Month, NAMI will amplify the message of “Together for Mental Health.”

The Camino a Casa program promotes working with youth and families which emanates from a set of shared values and commitments. By working together with youth and their families, such as through programming like group therapy, animal-assisted therapy, and FEAT, Camino a Casa continues to build a community around the concept of togetherness.

Why Mental Health Matters

Treatment of mental health problems do not start when symptoms occur—it should begin in childhood and adolescence.  According to the National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI), “50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.” Even more concerning is “the average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years.”

Ways in which we can improve Mental Health in Ventura County and beyond includes:

  • IMPROVING ACCESS: Improving access to mental health care for children and families will actively encourage families to seek affordable treatment.
  • REMOVING STIGMA: Removing the harmful stigma associated with mental health. Children and teens may feel shame asking for help. Stigma against mental health is also harmful to parents of children and teens when parents delay treatment.
  • INCREASING EDUCATION: By improving education about mental health, we can begin to remove harmful stigmas.

• 17% of youth aged 6–17 experience a mental health condition.
• 1 in 6 U.S. youth experience a mental health condition each year, and only half of them receive treatment.
• 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
• The average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years.
• 1 in 5 young people report that the pandemic had a significant negative impact on their mental health.
• 1 in 10 young people under age 18 experience a mental health condition following a COVID-19 diagnosis.
• In 2020, there was a 31% increase in mental health-related emergency department visits among U.S. adolescents

Tina’s Story

Here at Camino a Casa we see the startling effects of these disturbing statistics with the children and teens who come through our doors every day, such as Tina (*name changed for privacy).

When Tina came to Camino a Casa she had trouble finding resources—she could only find hospitals, no residential services. She came in with suicidal thoughts, hopeless, and futile efforts of trying to reduce symptoms.

Despite her symptoms, Tina claimed, “everyone else has trauma, I don’t belong here. I don’t have trauma.” Her family dynamics, with a micro-managing mother and a father also suffering from depression, along with a family history of suicide, contributed to her ongoing struggles. Her mother, while well-intentioned, tried to control and protect her child by micromanaging her treatment especially with suicidal thoughts and self-harming. At Camino a Casa Tina learned how to validate herself and worked with her parents to validate her feelings.

Eventually she stepped down to our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and made significant progress with no suicidal thoughts or self-harming. Tina learned to value her life. Stories like this cement the need to continue fighting against mental health stigma, improve easy access to mental health care, and educate families on healthy ways to improve their children’s mental health.

Stories like Tina’s not only show the need for improved mental health care in Ventura County and beyond, but also inspire Camino a Casa staff to go above and beyond.

NAMI Ventura: NAMI Walks Your Way

CFO Richard Gutierrez (pictured left) and Camino a Casa Business Development Representative Maggie Spoonerow (pictured right)

In March 2022, Casa Pacifica CFO Richard Gutierrez and Camino a Casa Business Development Representative Maggie Spoonerow represented Casa Pacifica at the kickoff rally of NAMI Ventura. The Camino a Casa team will return for the official walk on May 21st.

We are so excited to partner with NAMI (Ventura) to raise mental health awareness in Ventura County and beyond.

Join Camino a Casa and NAMI Ventura:


Saturday, May 21st

Port Hueneme Beach (Parking Lot B)

550 East Surfside Drive Port Hueneme, CA 93041

If you observe signs and symptoms of depression in your child or teen and believe it may be more than stress, call our admissions team today for a free and confidential screening at (805) 366-4000. Camino a Casa offers mental health services at all levels of care – we’ll work together to find the right option for you.

You make the decision, we’ll take care of the rest.  805-366-4000