The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Washington disagrees with the ruling by the Pierce County Superior Court that Western State Hospital CEO Cheryl Strange should bypass the wait list of patients for the hospital or serve jail time to serve one patient who is being treated and is stable in his single-bed certification location at St. Clare hospital [“Court orders Western State CEO to jail unless ‘boarded’ patient is admitted to state care,” Politics, June 14].
NAMI Washington does not support the single-bed certification rule created by the state to address psychiatric boarding, as that is a Band-Aid that does not solve the critical issue of the lack of psychiatric inpatient beds. But that problem does not rest on the shoulders of Strange; it rests on the shoulders of the state Legislature.
Washington must fund and provide access to a comprehensive array of services for people living with mental illness. Western State Hospital plays a critical role in this continuum, along with local inpatient and outpatient programs. But Washington needs more residential options, compassionate involuntary treatment standards and more mental-health professionals. NAMI Washington applauds Cheryl Strange’s courage for taking a stance on putting all patients in need of Western’s services first.
Tim Osborn, Seattle
President of NAMI Washington