The recent closing of the El Ray [“A Belltown residential treatment facility shutters, leaving a hole in King County’s mental health system,” Oct. 11, Northwest] is an example of a long history of diminished resources for those with mental-health issues in already vulnerable groups, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and people of color.
With the passage of Ricky’s Law (HB 1713), which involves involuntary detainment for individuals who are a danger to themselves, detainment is predicated on bedspace in facilities, an already critical issue. The revolving door of individuals with mental-health challenges has made emergency rooms and police vehicles the mental-health triage system, affected by the prevailing systemic racism in both law enforcement and health care.
The growing trend toward anxiety and depression in the COVID-19 pandemic reveals an immediate connection between an individual’s mental health, access to care and treatment options.
The critical need to examine primary connections between access to mental-health treatment, housing resources and the utility of Seattle in the economic recovery has never been more immediate than it is right now.
Caitlin Sullivan, Seattle