Fast Focus: How can we improve mental health care in the Tri-Cities? A matter of priorities

May 12, 2013 

We should quit dumping the mentally ill on the courts and cops. For years, far more people have been jailed with mental illness than ever were hospitalized, thus turning a medical condition into a crime.

Not to deny that serious crimes don't occur, but severe mental illnesses are real diseases. Diseases of the brain, in the same way that Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis are.

Twenty other counties in this state have adopted the 0.1 percent sales tax and created numerous and effective programs and policies for their people. Even though this issue has been brought up before, it seems it was met with a feeling of indifference or denial.

There's a huge need here folks and growing, all the while the revolving door of the court system is spinning faster and faster.

I believe the people of the Mid-Columbia are smart enough, progressive enough, and compassionate enough to accomplish what these other 20 counties have done.

After all, the Benton County dog shelter was put into place in no time, no problem. Does this say anything about priorities?.

-- GINGER GRIFFIN, Kennewick

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