Seattle Children’s Hospital is temporarily reducing the number of pediatric and teenage mental health beds in its psychiatric and behavioral medicine department.
SEATTLE — Middle school can be tough, but right now, 12-year-old Jazzy Helmy’s primary concern is theater auditions.
“This is the musical ‘Legally Blonde,’ and I’m going to audition for just one sorority,” Helmy said.
Good stress, isn’t it? Jazzy and her parents spent years trying to get the resources she needed.
“I’m autistic. But as a person, I’m not just autistic,” Helmy said.
Autism isn’t Jazzy’s only diagnosis, but it’s the one she feels most comfortable identifying with. Told.
“They’re hitting, yelling, kicking, yelling,” Lori said.
Jazzy has been with the Seattle Pediatric Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit (PBMU) over a dozen times.
“When I get really upset or angry, I often can’t remember what happened,” Jazzy said.
Sometimes Jazzy is hospitalized, other times he is sent home.
“So where are we going to let our kids go if we can’t handle them at home? We’re not bad parents. We don’t have the resources,” Lori said.
Seattle Children’s, which has 41 beds and accepts children ages 3 to 17, is temporarily reducing the number of beds due to future projects and upgrades.
“Just last week we had a parent in the ER or waiting room for hours to be evicted,” said Rachel Nemhauser, community and family support manager at Ark in King County.
Her job is to support parents and children with developmental disabilities. Nemhouser says it often overlaps with PBMU.
Nemhouser added that parents regularly shy away from the PBMU and may not have anywhere else to go due to lack of beds and resources available statewide.
“It’s really devastating to know that last resort isn’t even there,” said Nemhauser, who also has an autistic son.
Lori said she will keep fighting for her daughter. Her daughter is already getting better. It’s been a year since she was last hospitalized.
“I feel like after I got used to a better environment like school, it helped me to socialize more,” Jazzy said.