Paper trail shows stabbing suspect sought help multiple times

Closer look at local mental illness services

Video: Paper trail shows stabbing...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Paperwork shows Jhordy Ramirez and his family tried to seek help on numerous occasions for his depression and suicidal behavior.

They showed up at different hospitals and treatment centers over the course of a week. One of them was the Good Samaritan Shelter in Santa Maria.

"All of our programs are busting at the seams with clients," says Christina Vasquez.

They can't talk about Ramirez's case because of patient confidentiality. His dad says he was waiting for a bed to free up. He was supposed to enroll in their detox program on May 26.

"If it's someone that is just starting out their family doesn't know how to help them, it's a bit of a process to get them going," says Vasquez.

Vasquez says the shelter never turns anyone away. Anyone can walk in regardless of mental health status or if they are currently on any drugs.

"We take some info from them and there is a medical clearance needed by a doctor," she says.

There are only 12 beds at this detox center. If there is no room there they refer you to two other facilities in the county.

"We got a lot of people we try to house and get help," she says.

Ramirez's parents say it was difficult to find immediate help for their son. They say at times he was turned away for being high on drugs.

"We have a lot of need, we want to serve as much as we can," says Elodie Patarias. 

Ramirez's parents say they also visited the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness. Their son also used the facility's 24/7 access crisis hotline.

"Do you ever think the mental health system fails people? I don't think it fails people I think it's people misunderstand what we do here, we provide health, another place may provide housing," she says.

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