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Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 24, 2014 at 7:02 AM

Mental-health care: Increase hospital capacity, offer more humane care

In the story “Mentally ill charged with crimes lack timely access to hospital care” [Local News, Sept. 13], the whole system is a crime against humanity that no civilized society should allow to happen. The King County Jail alone has more than 100 mentally ill inmates waiting for hospital beds β€” and my son is one of them.

It’s time to do something about this problem with the money designated by Gov. Jay Inslee to solve the mental-health crisis in Washington state and help people in our most vulnerable population. Here are several solutions that could be implemented immediately:

  • Lift the ban on admitting mentally ill inmates to hospital psychiatric units
  • Increase the capacity of Western State Hospital, or create another hospital to treat mentally ill inmates
  • Create a unit within the prison that meets humane standards of psychiatric care
  • Have a psychiatrist on call so police departments can immediately evaluate mental status at the time of arrest

If we can airlift Americans out of Africa and cure them of Ebola, surely we can find the resources to transfer mentally ill inmates to psychiatric hospitals for treatment.

Nataly Kacherovsky, Seattle

Comments | More in Mental illness | Topics: King County Jail, mental health, Nataly Kacherovsky

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