In response to the August 21st, Nickels Worth article signed onto by a group of local legislators who voted NO on funding the establishment of a Mental Health Crisis Center, let’s get the facts straight.
Many professionals in our community weighed in with commentary and recommendations on the need for a Mental Health Crisis Center for our area. Kootenai County, which pays for indigent holds with our tax dollars pointed out that the contract they have with Kootenai Health, will double in the next year to over a million dollars.
Emergency medical services and law enforcement pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay and travel costs to transport people in crisis to facilities outside the area because we lack the space to house and treat them locally. Idaho has the 6th highest suicide rate in the nation. North Idaho’s is the highest in the state.
Our local mental health Executive Board weighed in with a letter to the editor in the CDA Press, July 13th recommending funding for a Mental Health Crisis Center.
Professionals in every field affected by individuals in mental health crisis; the county, law enforcement, judicial system, the hospital, emergency medical providers and the mental health executive board, recommended funding a Mental Health Crisis Center. These professionals, who deal with this problem every day, both fiscally and professionally, implored our local representatives to recognize the need for a Mental Health Crisis center.
The article characterized Governor Otter’s decision to have the first Mental Health Crisis center built in Idaho Falls instead of CDA, as “political”, implying that we were punished for the NO votes of these local legislators. But, these legislators did not want funding for the center. which is why they voted no. These “No” votes had their intended consequence. CDA did not get a mental health crisis center.
An election is coming up. Elections are political events that determine how issues are decided in the state legislature. When local legislators listen to thoughtful professionals in the field, better decisions are made.
Candidate for Idaho State Legislator District 2A
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Kootenai Democrats are the organizing committee for Democratic activities in Kootenai County.