I agree with The News Tribune that we need to devote serious attention and resources to mental health care in our county and state (editorial, 10-30).
Pierce County needs to join other counties in our state in establishing a Mental Health Court to help deal with the warehousing of mentally ill people in the criminal justice system. (See Sheriff Paul Pastor’s appeals to the County Council about overcrowding in the jail and through-the-roof overtime costs.)
Additionally – and this requires state action – we need to develop a system of assisted outpatient treatment that would provide mandated case management for persons adjudged as needing mental health services.
This is one way we can begin to patch the holes in the mental health treatment network. It will require some bold thinking for our politicians in a time of austerity, but we need to consider human costs as well as dollars.
(Williams is president of the Pierce County chapter of the National Alliance on the Mentally Ill.)