Reading that Cheryl Strange has been named the new CEO at Western State Hospital (TNT, 3-13) gave me a deep sense of relief. It could be that the blackest days at this important hospital are over.
A couple of years ago, I met and talked with Strange at a Washington state convention of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I first heard her as a panelist on the program and later approached her to talk.
She was clearly among the brightest bulbs in the room. She was highly knowledgeable, energized and inspiring. Though I hardly know her well, my impressions are that if she can’t fix Western State, then nobody can.
Stay tuned. You may have a front-row seat to watch some long overdue changes in the way people with serious mental illness are treated in Pierce County.
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(Agnello is the author of “Shaking Shame from Mental Illness.”)