Small Dreams: Mental Illness and Primary Care (Multimedia)

As mental health budgets shrink and services erode, Freitas, a nurse practitioner, is driven by a sense of mission to help patch the holes in the Stanislaus County safety net. Housed under a bright yellow awning in a strip mall off McHenry Ave., his primary care clinic, Aspen Family Medical Group, has taken on a key role in treating the county’s uninsured mentally ill.

The number of patients seeking treatment for mental illness has tripled over the past three years, Freitas says. He treats them and his own daughter, Tama Freitas, who has schizophrenia. Photography, audio and production by Lauren M. Whaley, CHCF Center for Health Reporting.

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