Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mental health treatment increasingly part of national conversation

Posted By on Sun, Jun 1, 2014 at 9:21 AM

As America continues to grapple with its underfunded, overburdened and often splintered mental health system, national media have increasingly sought to shine a light on problems and potential solutions. For its part, the Guardian launched a new series this week on the county's "broken system."

The series includes a number of stories about how families cope with the many gaps in care and treatment options. It also includes guest columns from leaders in the field, including the former president of the American Psychiatric Association and the sheriff of Cook County in Illinois, home of the largest mental health facility in the country — a jail.

Many aspects of mental health care have come under renewed criticism in the wake of last week's mass killing near UC Santa Barbara. The LA Times finds the system never had much of a chance to intervene despite multiple red flags ahead of the killings.

The Inlander's State of Mind series has taken on many of these issues at the local level. This week we wrote about how a shortage of psychiatric beds in North Idaho results in police officers being tied up for hours or days waiting with mental health patients.

We also have a guest column from Ron Anderson, president of the Spokane chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Previous Inlander State of Mind coverage has explore Idaho treatment limitations, mental health first aid skills, doctor shortages, life at Eastern State Hospital, Spokane jail mental health services and the troubled history of mental health care. A full list of this year's stories can be found at

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About The Author

Jacob Jones

Staff writer Jacob Jones covers criminal justice, natural resources, military issues and organized labor for the Inlander.