Mental health facilities are absolutely necessary, and not just for the safety and security of the mentally ill.
Left untreated, people who require serious mental health care are extremely vulnerable to every form of victimization our violent society has to offer. We also have far too many recent examples of unmedicated and delusional people commiting acts of violence against random people and police officers.
These episodes have less to do with medication being unavailable than it does with the fact that many of these patients are unable to maintain their dosage if left without supervision. Yet countless numbers either live alone or scratch out an existence on the streets.
That’s why the efforts of mental health professionals in Pierce County, such as the Optumhealth, are so important. The Trib’s report on this privatized group now managing the county’s mental health program demonstrates that there are skilled people with the ability to create a successful business model that addresses the urgent need to care for people who often are unable to care for themselves.
I hope other jurisdictions learn from their example.