Deaths, Lawsuits Spur Mental Health Bills In Washington Legislature

Mar 9, 2015

Mental health is one of the top issues in the Washington legislature this year. Several measures cleared the Washington House Monday in advance of a Wednesday cut-off deadline.

The death of a mentally ill Seattle man at the hands of police and a murder-suicide in Spokane are spurring some of the action. So are mental health lawsuits against the state.

There is a sense that during the Great Recession, funding did not keep up with needs and so that now that we’ve got some money coming back into the coffers, there is a real push to start rebuilding the mental health safety net.

The push to expand mental health services in Washington comes at the same time lawmakers are under court order to fully fund public schools. The cost to open more mental health beds and expand treatment options is expected to cost tens-of-millions of dollars.