mental health

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In the living room of her Olympia home, Crystal opens up a large file box that contains her son’s life history.

“As a mom you keep those shot records and those test scores in their little file even if they’re in their 20s,” said Crystal, whose last name we’re not using to protect her son's identity.

But this plastic box has something else: a detailed record of her son’s battle with addiction and mental illness beginning when he was 12.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

On a recent Wednesday morning, Denise Vermillion stood outside the Thurston County Courthouse and expressed the frustration that had been building inside her for days.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Efforts to turnaround Washington’s troubled Western State Hospital are taking longer than expected. The federal government this week granted yet another extension to give the state’s largest mental hospital more time to fix systemic problems.

Oregon Legislature

In a year when Oregon lawmakers are grappling with a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, even some legislative leaders are having trouble gaining traction for their priorities.

WSDOT / Flickr

Last year, gun violence shook communities in Marysville and on Whidbey Island, Washington. Some lawmakers in Olympia said it was the result of inadequate mental health resources.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants to make sweeping changes to the state’s mental health system. The Democrat Wednesday proposed a six-year plan to downsize the state’s two mental hospitals.

Phil Thomas / asylumprojects.org - tinyurl.com/j28ogdb

Washington’s troubled Western State Hospital has been plagued by ineffective management, staff reductions and turnover. That’s according to a “root cause analysis” report released Thursday.

Angela Nguyen / Northwest News Network

In 2015 a federal judge in Seattle ruled that the state of Washington was violating the constitutional rights of mentally ill jail inmates by not evaluating and treating them quickly enough so they could stand trial. The day before that ruling Evon Bercier's 32-year-old son Shawn was locked up in the Spokane County Jail.

Phil Thomas / asylumprojects.org - tinyurl.com/j28ogdb

The state of Washington has struck a deal with the feds to keep Western State Hospital open and funded. The Department of Social and Health Services announced late Thursday that it will negotiate a Systems Improvement Agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr - tinyurl.com/ha5h3wp

It’s a new year, but the saga continues. The state of Washington has missed a deadline to provide competency services to jail inmates within seven days. And in some cases wait times are getting worse not better.

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