Katie’s Way…A safe place of healing and treatment for young adults with mental health challenges…

The Mathis Family Lost Katie to Depression…

Katie’s Way… Click on the highlighted text, and take a moment to see the powerfully moving video clip…

“Katie’s Way was established in cooperation with The No Stone Unturned Foundation to provide services that promote social-emotional development, prevent development of mental health challenges, and address social-emotional problems that currently exist.”

“Katie’s Way was developed to overcome barriers by providing:

  • A non-institutional setting to overcome the stigmatism associated with an institutional model
  • Team-Based Care – psychiatry and psychology professionals all working together
  • All staff are specialty credentialed in child and adolescent psychiatry/psychology”


We live in the rural community of Depoe Bay, Oregon in Lincoln County on the Central Oregon Coast.  We are blessed to live out our dreams in this beautiful and stunning coastal community.  We have big challenges just like many rural towns, including the lack of resources to help those who are mentally challenged, especially kids.  The stigma of mental health hits us hard just like everywhere else in America.  Most hesitate or even avoid telling parents and loved ones about feelings of severe depression and anxiety for fear it will not lead to a helpful outcome, or even worse, could keep them from achieving dreams of college, career, and building loving relationships.  We are devastated and traumatized whenever there is word of a death, suicide or accident connected with the need for vastly improved mental health treatment and healing resources.

One of the most recent tragedies in our community is the story of little London McCabe, who’s mother tossed him over the Yaquina Bridge in Newport, Oregon because she was hearing voices.  Other examples we can’t mention names in order to protect victims, include child abuse, sexual abuse and maltreatment.  My own life experience includes a severely toxic and sometimes violent home culture while growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s before leaving to join the US Navy in 1963… “I got away!”

The State of Oregon acknowledges the need to improve mental health support and treatment resources by making it a legislative priority.  Our local Depoe Bay, Oregon City Council formally put mental health on its agenda.  We participate in the local community governing process by sitting on both the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council (LPSCC) and the Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC).  We are making room in our new Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital expansion to include space and beds for a detox treatment center.  Where we have a sticky problem is trying to build resources within our smaller communities similar to Katie’s Way, where getting help comes from a safe and secure setting managed by non institutional professionals and volunteers.

Katie’s Way is a non-profit public private partnership business model we need to get serious about right now!  There have been attempts in the past that have either failed or struggled to achieve sustainability.  We have the compassion, passion, and talent in Lincoln County to make it happen, we just need to go the extra mile.  I hope the story of Katie’s Way will give us the extra energy and commitment to move forward more quickly.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click the highlighted text for my author page.

Depoe Bay City Councilor

https://www.facebook.com/councilorsparks     Please “like” my page…



What are the “lessons learned” from the tragic death of little London McCabe? “There is ALWAYS another option than taking the life of your child!”

London McCabe at age 6… “He loved hats and his Dad.”


Yaquina Bridge, Newport, Oregon


Response to the tragic death of London McCabe  Quote from the blog post by Catonatrampoline: Autism, Parenthood, and Life…

“Responsibility. Down the line. From organisations to individuals. This is not a comprehensive review of all the factors, I don’t know all the details of the case, I never will, but I do know this: There are always ways that services could have done better, there are always signs that things are starting to go wrong, and there is ALWAYS another option than taking the life of your child.”


I appreciated the opportunity to speak to the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council (LPSCC) in Lincoln County Oregon.  I started my talk about mental health emergency response and first aid by remembering the painful tragedy of little London McCabe, (click on highlighted text for previous post) who’s mother tossed her sweet little boy over the Yaquina Bridge in November of 2014.  I also related my own story of growing up in a toxic home during the 1950’s and early 1960’s, when at age 10 in 1956, I observed my older brother, age 15 at the time, getting punched with great force in his head by my father and knocked out…head swelling up like a football later. It was a miracle that my dear brother was not killed! My brother was not taken to the hospital at the time for fear my father’s US Navy career would be at risk, including his decorated WWII and Korean War service to America.  Of all the toxic, scary and painful childhood experiences in our troubled home, this is the one that triggers great sadness in my heart almost everyday of my life…

During my interaction with the very caring and passionate public service leaders in the meeting, I spoke of the need for a thorough “lessons learned” public investigation of the death of London McCabe.  It is not clear to me that we have started or completed such an investigation in a public venue with extensive awareness and actions that would lead us to mitigate the risk of a repeated tragedy in the future.  I am confident that everyone in Lincoln County and Newport, Oregon public service connected with police and mental health have done their individual investigations and have taken steps to improve emergency response and first aid to those who suffer from severe mental health challenges.  I listened to several officials in the meeting who discussed, with passion and emotion, the process of building a far more effective layer of emergency response that must be an alternative to calling “911” as the often too little, too late last resort.

As a City Councilor from Depoe Bay, Oregon representing the caring citizens of our town, I walked away encouraged.  But it is clear that we are not able to move as fast as everyone would prefer.  Our community is not unlike many rural areas in America in that we are often caught in a world of “silos” working feverishly in multiple departments of public safety and health, but not as a community force and together as a team, with the power to change up quickly to solve critical problems.

It is my goal going forward to continue being engaged with public safety and mental health resources to tackle the challenges of mental health first aid and emergency response as a whole community.  I also believe it would be profoundly healing and constructive to go back to the London McCabe tragedy to ensure that we have full comprehension of the lessons learned and community agreement on a faster and better path forward.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…

City Councilor, Depoe Bay, Oregon