I read with interest the timely mental health series recently published in The Seattle Times, though I was struck by a glaring omission in the listing of mental health care resources.

As a retired ARNP (advanced registered nurse practitioner) who provided primary care for countless patients through major medical centers in the Seattle area over a 40-plus year career, I diagnosed mental health disorders, prescribed and monitored medication, and made counseling and psychiatric referrals when needed.

Nurse practitioners help fill a surging gap in mental health care. Well prepared with advanced degrees in nursing, board certification in various aspects of primary care (family, pediatric, adult/internal medicine), women’s health or mental health, they maintain licenses to practice and prescribe a full range of medication pertinent to their scope of practice, including mental health. ARNPs certified in mental health provide counseling and drug management for mental health conditions, streamlining the patient experience. Patient satisfaction scores of ARNPs remain solid; Medicare and most insurers cover ARNP services.

Yet Michelle Baruchman’s important series overlooks ARNPs as valuable resources in the current mental health crisis. It is time to highlight these quality providers of primary care and mental health for what they do best.

Suzanne C. Lindberg, ARNP (retired), Seattle