mental health

Former CEO of Washington’s Western State Hospital Ron Adler was publicly fired as head of the troubled state psychiatric hospital by Gov Jay Inslee earlier this year after the escape and recapture of two high-risk patients. But Adler continued working for the state.

Washington is unlikely to meet a January deadline to provide jail inmates with court-ordered mental health services within seven days.

A staffing shortage at Western State Hospital has created a crisis situation. Federal inspectors this week determined that patients and staff face immediate risk for harm.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest Public Radio

  “Hello!” Squeals Drea Lake as she enters her husband Tyrone’s room. They have been married for more than 50 years; Tyrone has had Alzheimer’s since 2002. He recently moved into a nursing home in Seattle, where Drea visits him 5 days a week.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Brian Phillips spent 71 days in solitary confinement this summer. He was locked up in the Thurston County Jail near Olympia, Washington, after he went off his psychiatric medication and had several run-ins with police.

A new national study released this week indicates a shift in thinking when it comes to mental health. A majority of those surveyed say they value mental health and physical health equally. But Idaho remains one of the states with a high suicide rate, and low access to mental health care. 

The state of Washington is on a hiring spree for forensic psychologists. They’re needed to help address a backlog of mentally ill jail inmates whose competency to stand trial is in question.

The state of Washington is under a federal court order to address the issue of mentally ill inmates languishing in jail. But the problem has actually gotten worse, not better.

Idaho ranks consistently among the top states with the highest rates of youth suicide in the nation.

It’s been nearly two years since Joel Reuter fired a pistol from his condo balcony and was shot to death by Seattle police. Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee signed “Joel’s Law.”

Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill Tuesday to help prevent gun violence in mental health emergencies. It allows families to request notification when police return guns to loved ones.

It’s called the Sheena Henderson Act and it’s named for a Spokane woman.

Sheena’s husband Chris had been making suicidal threats before police confiscated his gun.

The day after they returned it, he fatally shot his wife and himself.

Friend Kristin Otoupalik said Sheena should have been told about the gun. 

HUD Secretary Announces New Round Of Funding For Housing For Homeless Vets

Apr 21, 2015
AP Images

  A new initiative from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development department will help homeless veterans with mental health issues find housing. HUD Secretary Julián Castro made the announcement in Seattle today.

HUD is partnering with the department of Veterans Affairs to help get veterans connected to housing and to VA services.

This new round of money will help about 9-thousand veterans across the country. That's about a fifth of the overall population of homeless veterans in the U.S.

A federal judge in Seattle Thursday ordered the state of Washington to provide mental health evaluations to jail inmates within seven days.

Mentally ill inmates in Washington state often must wait weeks, or even months in jail for evaluations to see if they’re competent to stand trial.

Mental health is one of the top issues in the Washington legislature this year. Several measures cleared the Washington House Monday in advance of a Wednesday cut-off deadline.

For the first time, the Washington state Senate has passed a version of “Joel’s Law.”

Mental health advocates in Washington are assailing a proposal to allow psychiatric boarding in limited cases.

The father of a Spokane woman shot to death by her husband in a murder-suicide is pushing for expanded mental health laws in Washington.

The day after Christmas is the deadline for the state of Washington to end a practice known as psychiatric “boarding.”

State of Idaho

A new center for treating people having a mental health crisis is now open in Idaho. Officials held a ribbon-cutting in Idaho Falls Monday.

The center is the first of its kind in Idaho. It’s meant to address the need for care for people during mental health emergencies. Mental health advocates and police say too often, those people end up in jail or hospital emergency rooms. The new center is modeled after one in Billings, Montana.

tahitianlime / Flickr

The state says it’s making progress in adding psychiatric beds to comply with a court mandate.

For years the state has had a shortage of psychiatric beds. As a result, patients with severe mental illness end up in emergency rooms until space at a psychiatric facility becomes available.

In august the state supreme court ruled that this practice of psychiatric boarding is unconstitutional. The court gave the state until December 26th to expand its inpatient capacity.

Washington Supreme Court

The state of Washington now has until the end of the year to stop “boarding” mental health patients in non-psychiatric hospital beds. The Supreme Court Friday granted a 120-day stay in a ruling that declared the practice of boarding illegal.

This basically buys the state some breathing room. The Department of Social and Health Services will now have until December 26th to open 145 new psychiatric beds across the state. Governor Jay Inslee has freed up $30 million for the effort. As of late last month, about 200 patients were being boarded in non-psychiatric beds.

Fotos GOVBA / Flickr

A lawyer for psychiatric patients who successfully challenged a practice known as “boarding” says the state of Washington doesn’t deserve extra time to start following mental health laws.

Jason Rosenberg / Flickr

The state of Washington will not have to start discharging severely mentally ill patients starting this week. On Monday, The Supreme Court put a hold on a recent ruling that said it’s illegal for the state to “board” psychiatric patients in non-psychiatric hospital beds.

Wikimedia Commons

The Washington Supreme Court recently ruled it’s illegal for the state to “board” mental health patients in emergency rooms and regular hospital beds. The state of Washington said late Friday it can open 145 new psychiatric beds, but it needs some additional time. The Attorney General has now asked the Supreme Court to “stay” its ruling for 120-days.

Medicaid Payment Woes Plague Idaho Mental-Health Providers

Aug 25, 2014
Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

The state’s effort to rein in Medicaid costs has created deep friction between small businesses that deliver behavioral-health services to Medicaid patients and a new contractor hired to manage them.

Wash. Must Find 200 Beds For Psychiatric Patients

Aug 14, 2014
Fotos GOVBA / Flickr

The state of Washington is scrambling to find beds by Aug. 27 for an estimated 200 mental health patients by Aug. 27. That's when the state must comply with a Washington Supreme Court ruling that said detaining psychiatric patients in emergency room beds is unlawful.

Wikimedia Commons

The practice of “boarding” mental health patients in hospital emergency rooms is unlawful. That’s the unanimous ruling Thursday from the Washington Supreme Court. The justices upheld a lower court ruling in the case of 10 psychiatric patients. They were involuntarily detained under state law and then placed in non-psychiatric beds. Emily Cooper is an attorney with Disability Rights Washington. She calls the ruling a victory for severely mentally ill patients.

Ben / Flickr

Washington’s prison system has announced a major policy change when it comes to inmates who harm themselves. The Department of Corrections said Thursday that it will no longer sanction inmates for cutting or other acts of self-injury.

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

Oliver was anxious all the time. He demonstrated compulsive behavior, and he howled every time his parents left him alone at home. Oliver was a dog - a Bernese Mountain Dog.

But he, like many animals, displayed some amazingly human psychological traits. That was the inspiration for Laurel Braitman's new book. It's called "Animal Madness." It looks at the mental states and behaviors of animals and how they sometimes mirror our own. Laurel Braitman joins me now from KQED in San Francisco. Welcome.

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