Western State Hospital’s new CEO, Cheryl Strange, might just go to jail. She will be making a large point, though: the state of our mental health services is appalling! We rate almost at the bottom of all 50 states in the availability of housing, treatment, and, thus, stigma, of those with a mental illness.
As a psychiatric nurse practitioner in Washington state, I am every day reminded of what is not available. This, my fellow citizens, is what Ms. Strange is standing for: every single person with a mental illness is suffering from the lack of all services!
While I was initially astounded to read of Ms. Strange’s preference for jail, in reading the entire article, I can understand her position. It is unfortunate she is put in this position, but she is making a strong statement. We can only hope that she will not be left out in the cold, and that changes will occur at all levels of Washington State’s abysmal lack of mental health care and recognition through more than just words from a podium.