Blake says mental health funding ‘critical to public safety’

Legislation included in the House Democrats’ budget proposal will help make Washington a safer place by ensuring that the mentally ill get the care they need, Rep. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, said in a legislative update last week.

That legislation includes:

• House Bill 1114 seeks to fill the gap between the criminal justice system and mental health care providers. It would help ensure that violent mental health offenders get the treatment they need, instead of ending up on the streets.

• House Bill 1336, which requires school counselors and nurses to receive training on suicide prevention.

• House Bill 1777, which accelerates the implementation of critical involuntary commitment of people with pressing mental health issues. The new approach will take input from family members and friends into consideration when making a decision to involuntarily commit.

•House Bill 1522, which builds a bridge between hospitals and the community for the mentally ill. It creates a step down from state hospitals — which will provide a service to those beginning to transition back into day-to-day life.

• House Bill 1627, which gives county jails tools to meet the growing demand for competency evaluations.

“We’ve seen the tragedies that can occur when the mentally ill don’t get treatment they need,” Blake said in his update. “I believe mental health care is a critical investment.”