Fast Focus: How can we improve mental health care in the Tri-Cities? Personal experience

May 12, 2013 

I personally have struggled with a mental health condition. The stigma caused me to want to remain in denial, but I found a good provider. I have concern for others. This concern prompted me to found a foundation called 5150 to Recovery. It works to help mentally ill develop a life that helps them reach their greatest potential.

I call the care that most of the uninsured experience "Walmart therapy." The mentally ill fear solitude, so they go to public locations. It would be better if they had a mental health emergency room such as consolidated crisis response unit. In response, the foundation has started a support group to promote caring for each other. Peer support programs would help keep treatment relevant. In addition, we need a warm line where people can talk to someone prior to escalation of symptoms.

Frequently, mentally ill symptoms cause individuals to get involved with the court system. A mental health court would provide jail diversion programs if criminal intent failed to exist but disease symptoms caused inappropriate actions. Spokane County Mental Health Court staff will share Spokane's court model at a public forum on June 6 at the Mid-Columbia Library in Kennewick Library on Union Street at 6:30 p.m.

These are a start.

-- KEVIN KENNEDY, West Richland

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service