By Name Withheld
sensitive health information disclosed 

Letter to the Editor: StepUp's Hidden Abuse of Mentally Ill Clients

*StepUp is a nonprofit social service organization which receives public funding including from the City of Santa Monica

 

August 15, 2021

I am a 64 year-old person suffering from AIDS, diabetes and severe mental illness.

StepUp is providing formerly homeless people with dysfunctional housing and mental health counseling.

Over the past year, I have gone through five therapists who offered no assistance but harmed me.

All of the therapists were untrained interns right out of school. They don't have any supervising therapists. They each only served as my therapists for one or two months, then dumped me without any interim replacement. So I was left with no therapist most of the time over the past year.

The Director said SHE DOESN'T CARE upon my complaints along with complaints to supervisor Brittany who also said she doesn't care, to fix the chaotic office culture during the pandemic.

So I reached out to the StepUp headquarters in Santa Monica, only in vain.

I left messages for five high ranking employees, only in vain. NOBODY RETURNED MY CALLS WHICH REPORTED THE ABUSIVE/NEGLIGENT CARE OF PANDEMIC TOXIC THERAPY.

Yesterday I had to hold the line for 1.5 hours to reach out to the director, because the director won't allow email correspondence and requires ONLY PHONE CALLS. 

*Editors notes:

The deterioration of mental health and the increased suicide rates during the pandemic have been widely reported.

StepUp's mission statement reads, “Step Up delivers compassionate support to people experiencing serious mental health issues, and persons who are experiencing chronic homelessness, to help them recover, stabilize, and integrate into the community. Through dynamic partnerships, we provide positive social and learning environments, vocational training, permanent supportive housing opportunities, and recovery services to empower individuals to cultivate lives of hope and dignity. We exercise innovative leadership and advocacy to increase public understanding, support, and acceptance of all people living with serious mental health issues.” 


According to the most recent tax form, StepUp’s gross annual receipts are nearly $28M, the organization’s assets are over $22M, and the CEO/President Tod Lipka’s annual salary is $363K. 

 

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