One year ago, in his State of the State address just weeks after the Sandy Hook shootings, Gov. Butch Otter proposed a $70 million mental health wing expansion to the Idaho State Penitentiary.
This year, the governor introduced a different approach: community-based 24-hour behavioral health crisis centers, one of which will be located here in Boise. Otter plans to pattern the crisis centers on existing models from other states in the belief that we will see “declines in use of local emergency rooms, hospital beds, and jail cells.”
What I like about this proposal is that it moves our focus from crisis-based, reactive care to a more proactive model that addresses the ongoing needs of individuals and families living with mental illness.
But what about those people who have serious mental illness but refuse to seek treatment because they lack awareness of their condition? How can a community crisis center help people who won’t ask for help but desperately need it?I confess to surprise that the Statesman would publish something like this. Perhaps they are losing their doctrinaire leftist position because of the new editorial page director?