While Western State Hospital has temporarily dodged the loss of federal funding, there is still a long road of reparation.
The need for quality mental health care goes without saying. The population dealing with mental health issues deserves access to an institution that can provide the best treatment and keep the patient safe from self-harm and harm from others. The staff also deserves the proper training and protective measures to keep themselves and the patients safe. The recent track record from Western State indicates that such care has not been attained.
Hopefully, the passage of House Bill 2453 will establish an oversight committee that will actually take meaningful action to protect the safety of workers by providing additional training and adequately staffing the facility.
Working with patients in a psychiatric crisis cannot be easy. We must ensure the caregivers of these patients have every resource available to them.
Without meaningful steps taken to fix the problems at Western State, the 800-bed facility could shut down. If this happens, then we, as a state, have failed a vulnerable population. I urge lawmakers to take the necessary steps to correct the situation at Western State.