Followup on National Alliance on Mental Illness Forum
No other candidate from the 31st District attended this forum on mental health in Washington state and our county. I am happy that I could be there to represent our district. Mental illness is a pressing issue that should not be ignored by our candidates and politicians. I was happy to address the timely topics that attendees of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Forum on September 21st inquired about.
Those suffering from severe mental illness in Washington state should not be forced to relinquish their rights to participate in a free society. We need to treat those struggling with compassion and consideration, not simply supervision and control. Serving the needs of those with mental health issues takes a very balanced approach. The media and our politicians are often portraying those with mental illness as ‘problems’ in and of themselves, not people with health issues that need care. Mental health care is certainly not a topic we need to politicize.
Our inpatient facilities are in dire need of better management and a reassessment on funding. More importantly we need to be doing more community-based treatment and coordination of care for persons with significant mental health issues. The best solution to our inpatient care crisis is better care management done on an outpatient basis. This will require a comprehensive review of current systems, and more importantly more resources and decision making on a community level
The criminal justice system is not a place for untreated patients to end up. While manning a booth this summer, a couple approached me with a story about their son. He was taken into police custody during a mental break he’d had. The police clearly recognized that he was unwell mentally, but failed to transfer him to inpatient care. He ended up dying in police custody as a result of a physical condition that went unmanaged there. We desperately need to divert those struggling with severe mental health problems out of the criminal justice system and into proper mental health facilities.
Your input and feedback is most welcome. Please drop me an email and share your thoughts…. firstname.lastname@example.org