Those in Washington State suffering a mental health crisis now have few options. As a result, governments at all levels are increasing spending on mental health services. More patients will be transferred from the state’s leading mental institutions to those in smaller facilities.
Emerald City Enhanced Services opened a new facility in response to the growing need for mental health services outside of the overcrowded Western State Hospital.
Destry Witt, the center’s developer, claims that the facility’s long-term care services are 50% cheaper than in Western states. “We know there’s a lot of people in Western State Hospital that need to be moved elsewhere,” Witt said.
The state has nine other facilities, like Emerald City’s Lakewood outpost. According to Witt, the tenth will arrive in January if all goes as planned. To help those needing mental health care, the corporation has allocated $14 million to turn a medical park in Tacoma into a state-of-the-art campus.
Residents there can remain for up to two years as they become sober from dr*gs or overcome their mental health issues. “It’s very much residential, but it’s also a medical facility,” said Witt. It’s not a midway house, that’s for sure.
Last week, five additional crisis centers in the King County area were approved for financing. A person experiencing a mental health crisis may walk into one of these facilities without a referral from a doctor or proof of insurance coverage rather than traveling to a hospital.
Here’s what you need to know now about recent events in Washington State:
- Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is ‘exploring’ Governorship.
- Inslee Proposes a Special Session to Toughen Dr*g Possession Punishments.
King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn will determine the services’ scope and the sites for future crisis centers. “What’s happened is our emergency rooms, and mental health facilities have become the only places where law enforcement or family members can deliver somebody in crisis,” said Dunn.
Dunn is concerned with finding a location in an industrial zone far from any schools but accessible by public transportation. Witt cites accessibility to public transportation as a factor in his decision to move his business to Tacoma.
“We want to be in places where we think the community would be receptive to that,” Witt added. “There are going to be issues that are going to be uncomfortable for neighbors. It’s just the nature of the business.”
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