This week, supplementing his current feature on the impact privatization has had on the mental-health system in Pierce County, Keegan Hamilton has been posting to Daily Weekly with additional details, source documents and insight gained during the extensive research process for the cover story.
While every other region in the Washington relies on public agencies to coordinate services for the mentally ill, Pierce County's state and federal funds are now managed by OptumHealth, a for-profit corporation headquartered in Minnesota. As compensation for their services, the company pockets 10 percent of Pierce County's $54 million allotment for mental health funding, voluntarily "reinvesting" one percent of their cut back into the system.
The post inspired commenter scaredmom to weigh in, writing:
This is no joke! My daughter, who has schizophrenia, was destroying the interior walls of our house with her electric guitar while yelling paranoid things during a psychotic episode. When we called the crisis line, they did NOTHING. They won't respond unless the person is saying, specifically, that they are going to hurt or kill themselves or someone else, or physically attacking someone. It does not matter how they are behaving, even if it is violent. It doesn't matter what they are saying, even if it is violent and paranoid. It doesn't even matter if the behavior is dangerous for themselves or someone else, there has to be a verbal threat involved. Love ones have to deal with it on their own. Why have a crisis line. Why not just tell people to call 911 and warn people about the dangers that face the mentally ill in our legal system.