The crisis side of our mental health system has been generating headlines for its dangerous condition, and it garnered much-needed investment in the latest state budget, with money for the state’s mental health hospitals.
While this was an essential investment, the early intervention and prevention side of the mental health system was largely ignored by the media and the legislature.
If we want to make a dent in our state’s mental health crisis, we must strengthen the upstream side of the system. The legislature missed chances to do so this session. Community health centers know that increasing our workforce of behavioral health specialists and ensuring that behavioral health is integrated in primary care will go a long way in reducing our patients’ need for expensive acute care.
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The legislature will have a lot on its plate during next year’s session. I hope that cost-effective, early intervention mental health solutions will get the attention they deserve.
Barb Clure, Bellingham