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Derek’s Story

Our Safe Alternatives for Treating Youth, or SAFTY program is designed to respond to at-risk youth experiencing a mental health crisis, to preserve families, and strengthen communities through collaboration with law enforcement, schools, and/or existing treatment teams to prevent psychiatric hospitalization, juvenile detention, or placement in out-of-county facilities. We respond to mental health crisis at all levels. Whether someone is violent, suicidal, self-harming, or prone to other unsafe behavior related to mental illness, please take it seriously and call a professional – either Casa Pacifica’s Santa Barbara County SAFTY Hotline, the crisis text line, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, please reach out.

Derek initially called the crisis line himself, stating that he needed to talk to someone and was suicidal. It was hard for him to articulate what was going on, but eventually he revealed he had just moved to the area and felt out of place at his new group home. He told the SAFTY Specialist that he was in a backyard and wanted to jump off a roof to harm himself. He felt hopeless and alone, and just wanted someone to talk to. Derek had been in several group homes prior to moving, and it seemed like the hospital was an all too familiar place for him to be due to abusive situations. Derek and the SAFTY Specialist eventually came up with a plan to meet his needs. It turned out, he really loved Christian rap music, and needed those songs to be loaded onto a device for him to use when he felt suicidal. He was also able to address the conflict he had with his new caregivers while on the phone with SAFTY, which allowed him to feel more comfortable and understood in his new group home.