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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 26, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Mental-health care in Washington

Community Psychiatric Clinic needs state funding

Heather Apartments are housing built by Community Psychiatric Clinic for homeless individuals who struggle with mental illness. [Steve Ringman, The Seattle Times.]

Heather Apartments are housing built by Community Psychiatric Clinic for homeless individuals who struggle with mental illness. [Steve Ringman, The Seattle Times.]

The recent article on mental health was a shocker for most of us at Cascade Hall, a Community Psychiatric Clinic (CPC) group home. [“Feds put state on notice over mental-health care,” NW Saturday, July 20.]

May I suggest that the laws change, not the system? CPC is doing a competent job here. The problem of privatized care is escalating costs. None of our clients, that I know of, can find appropriate suitable private care. We need government subsidies as well as private donations.

I have spent 23 years as a client at CPC in King County.

Marian Mallett, Seattle

Mental-health care is a necessity

As a former director of a community mental-health center, I strongly agree with The Times’ editorial on mental health. [“Feds muck up state’s mental-health system,” Opinion, July 23.]

We must realize the state’s community centers are charged with dealing with our most difficult mental-health population, those with chronic and acute disturbances. These patients demand and need extensive and specialized care, including medication management and daily living skills.

Seriously underfunded community centers are already stretching their service programs, and this additional administrative burden will dilute resources for necessary care.

It is bewildering to think our federal representatives can come up with such a boneheaded directive. Competitive bidding may work for construction projects, but it surely will lead to a “race to the bottom,” as states and counties are encouraged to focus on a financial bottom line, which de-emphasizes quality of care.

Even now, there is a tendency under such conditions to hire less-experienced clinicians, sometimes with no more than a bachelor’s degree, to treat these most-troubled patients.

Mental-health funding has been chronically underfunded, and it seems only when there is a tragedy or a shooting do we realize the necessity of stable and adequate mental-health-care funding.

I hope the state appeals this blockheaded federal directive, and finds a more humane and workable compromise.

David Celio, Seattle

0 Comments | More in Economy, Health care, Seattle | Topics: clinics, Community Psychiatric Clinic, funding

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