Partnerships can help
The decision by the Washington State Supreme Court to close the door on warehousing psychiatric patients and the extensive reporting in The Seattle Times about the shambles of the mental-health system have been most encouraging [“What’s troubling mental health,” Opinion, Aug. 17].
Valiant mental-health officials are scrambling to respond to the crisis.
But more widespread partnerships are required. Too often families who have a loved one who is unraveling psychologically have to sort their way through a labyrinth to unearth appropriate care. One of the best community resources, National Alliance on Mental Illness, addresses unmet mental health needs within our community through support, referral, education and outreach.
Faith communities can also provide hospitality and support for people with mental illness and their families. To name but a few, Northminster Presbyterian Church in Ballard, Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church, Plymouth Congregational Church and St. James Cathedral have been notable.
Ultimately what’s needed is a communitywide partnership to address the multiple needs and crises resulting from mental illness. These include the mental-health professionals, police department, political and religious leaders, faith communities, and, of course, a committed press to keep us alert and informed.
Fr. Patrick Howell S.J., Seattle