Progress has been made in addressing our underfunded mental-health system, but we have a long way to go before we’re out of this crisis.

Most significantly, our behavioral-health system is failing to provide adequate non-crisis care, including prevention, early intervention and ongoing treatment.

This year, the Washington Legislature acknowledged this problem and made important capital investments to increase capacity at community health centers across the state, where behavioral-health care is integrated into primary care. This enables us to identify issues early, whether that’s depression or too much drinking, and immediately connect patients to the support they need.

As we see a positive impact in our communities when these new clinics are up and running, we urge the Legislature to continue to build on these investments in the coming years.

Randon Aea, Seattle, Behavioral Health Manager, International Community Health Services (ICHS), Chinatown International District Medical Clinic