Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: mental illness


TACOMA: Is there a better way than boulders?

Re: “Between rocks and a hard place” (Matt Driscoll column, 6-9).

The boulders near the Tacoma Main Library represent a multi-layered issue that needs more dialogue on how we as a city care for all of our citizens.

How do we work towards making a safer city? How do we support the needs of businesses and create an environment for them to flourish while also supporting those in times of suffering and uncertainty - such as those with criminal backgrounds or those experiencing homelessness, mental illness or chemical dependency.

We as a city need to ask more questions as well as discern

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CRASH: Mental illness needs treatment, compassion

Re: ”For air travelers, another fear: A pilot is having a bad day” (Kathleen Parker column, 3-29).

The tragic plane crash in the Alps can be a teaching moment for broadening understanding about - and compassion for – those with mental illness.

Parker refers to the Germanwings co-pilot as “every bit the monster the terrorist is.” I gasped. How could she call a person with a mental illness a monster and get away with it?

Parker refers to the pilot’s “poor parents” and adds, “But not, please, poor Andreas Lubitz.”

I say, “Poor Kathleen.”

What if the pilot had not mental illness, but

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MENTAL HEALTH: More treatment needed

By state Supreme Court order, Gov. Jay Inslee and the Department of Social and Health Services recently responded to untreated mentally ill patients. Medicaid beds can now be allotted to halt psychiatric boarding in hospital hallways.

It is mandatory that ill patients receive care. Hopefully, we no longer stigmatize such individuals. In times past they were labeled as crazy or lunatics. They spent long years or a lifetime in asylums.

Today there is understanding of our brain structure and brain diseases, such as bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s and dementia. We have studied the brain and its chemistry. We’ve heard of serotonin, dopamine,

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ELECTION: Young better mental health advocate

At a recent forum I attended, Pierce County Council candidate Stan Flemming argued against equalizing taxation for mental health services in Pierce County, saying it should be a “tool of last resort.”

Mental health care is a human right and a proactive measure in public safety. The mentally ill are strongly overrepresented among jail inmates. More than 10 percent of inmates are severely mentally ill, and estimates show about half have a diagnosable condition.

Of course, everyone should be held responsible for their crimes. But we have an opportunity here to stop tragedies before they happen. When Flemming joined the rest

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MENTAL HEALTH: Many fall through the cracks

Reports of a mentally ill woman committed to Western State Hospital only to end up in a homeless shelter in California (TNT, 2-9) point to our crazy-quilt mental health system and lack of coordination between agencies and the courts.

It is far too easy for a mentally ill person to “fall through the cracks” in Pierce County. While the details of this particular instance are not fully explained, it seems that a simple fax machine could have averted this tragedy.

We need to develop a more coordinated system that ensures mentally ill persons receive appropriate care – not mangled

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GUNS: We’re not asking the right questions

The latest mass shooting and killing, this time at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., hardly raises any outcry at all. How terribly sad and ominous for us as a nation.

The only questions asked at all by a few in the media relate to whether the shooter should have been granted a security clearance to gain access to a military installation or been employed by a contractor due to his apparent background of violence and mental illness.

But if that apparent history should prevent a security clearance because he was just too dangerous and too unstable, shouldn’t it also

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MENTAL HEALTH: Shut the revolving door

It’s time to shut the revolving door that tosses the severely mentally ill into the street. The state Legislature needs to develop a program like that of Vermont.

There, a state family court judge can order a patient to be involuntarily hospitalized in a psychiatric facility. When the patient no longer needs to be hospitalized but continues to need supervision and structure, the court sets requirements for the patient’s release called “orders of non-hospitalization.” The patient can then be placed in a secure mental health treatment residence. When necessary, the orders can require a locked facility.

Recently, a new treatment

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MENTAL HEALTH: All pay cost of discrimination

Re: “‘Boarding’ the mentally ill” (TNT, 7-15).

As both a citizen and professional in the mental health field, I want to express my appreciation and gratitude to The News Tribune for publishing this special report.

People with mental illness continue to suffer from heavy systemic discrimination, and directly or indirectly, all of us bear a heavy cost emotionally and financially as a result. Tragically, many lives also have been lost.

I commend The News Tribune for the courage and commitment to educate the public about the dismal and immoral lack of adequate services toward people with this brain disease.

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