The National Alliance on Mental Illness Tri-Cities marked the start of Mental Health Month with a $5,500 donation to the Benton County Mental Health Court to honor the memory of the late Norm Miller.
Miller, the father of Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller, was a chemical engineer who moved to the Tri-Cities in the early ‘50s to work at the Hanford site. He was an active member of the Democratic party, as well as a decades-long advocate for the mentally ill, working with NAMI to better address needs in the community and the state. He died in 2012.
Benton County established the mental health court in 2016 to address the unique needs of criminal defendants with mental illness.
The voluntary program handles cases involving a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor crime pending in the county’s district court. The court emphasizes treatment and accountability over incarceration.
May has been observed as Mental Health Month since 1948.