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.
(Agnello is the author of “Shaking Shame from Mental Illness.”)