The Times 

Mental health crisis management needs

 

April 20, 2023



Dear Editor,

A mental health crisis, just like a physical health crisis, can be devastating for individuals, families, and communities. Over the last year, it is my understanding that our county contracted with Comprehensive Healthcare to provide crisis response/care. Our community’s current approach to crisis care has led to delays and denial of services that create undue burdens on the individual, our law enforcement emergency department, and our justice system. The current approach to Crisis Healthcare must be transformed, and I am requesting the county reevaluate the contract with Comprehensive.

When determining if there is adequate capacity to meet the community’s needs, an assessment is required on whether individuals can access needed services in a timely manner.

Comprehensive is failing this community. Response times are often several hours, and there is a complete lack of coordination and connection to services following a crisis episode. There is no continuity of care as the provider is working independently and not integrated with the current healthcare system.

Law enforcement and first responders are expected to take the person in crisis to the hospital first, not the crisis unit. This action does not represent best practice as defined in Crisis Service Best Practice Toolkit. Boarding individuals with psychiatric issues in our hospital’s emergency department and the over-representation of people with mental health and substance abuse within our justice system indicate insufficient capacity within our community. It warrants evaluation and analysis of the contract the county has with Comprehensive.

Theresa Eier RN

Dayton, Wash.

 

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