Healthy communities require adequate funding for mental health services and substance abuse treatments. Vulnerable members of communities across Pierce County struggle with mental health and/or drug abuse challenges. Providing needed relief to our mental health crisis requires access to essential behavioral health services.
I have a track record of getting results for my constituents in Lakewood and am proud of the work the work I did with my fellow Council Members, such as ensuring a mental health professional would be available on police calls for those in crisis, by committing one percent of our general fund to human services, including mental health services, and by partnering with Pierce County and the Cohen Veterans Network to bring Washington’s first mental health clinic serving veterans and military families to Lakewood.
As your council member, I will work to:
- Increase access to needed, localized care by properly funding mental health services and substance abuse treatments in our communities.
- Implement proactive reforms dedicated to mental health services and substance abuse treatments for people experiencing homelessness.
- Provide law enforcement with the proper resources to address mental health and substance abuse challenges.
The lack of mental health services and substance abuse treatments creates a burden for communities across Pierce County. Families struggling to help mentally ill or addicted loved ones need access to care – that means proper mental health care locally. People experiencing homelessness and who suffer with mental health and/or substance abuse need opportunities to improve their lives with access to proper treatment.
I am committed to improving access to proper mental health services in our communities. As we look at ways to reform and improve our police departments, the presence of mental health professionals reduces the pressure placed on police officers dealing with difficult situations involving people suffering from mental illness. Additionally, given the opportunity to establish access during a critical time, the presence of mental health professionals opens the door for long-term mental health care.
The far-reaching implications of the COVID-19 crisis include a devastating increase in alcohol and drug abuse, depression, and suicide. Many people are experiencing lost employment and face uncertainty over their futures. Addressing the lack of mental health resources and substance abuse treatments in our communities is more important than ever.
The spike in mental health related cases brought on by COVID-19 also reminds us that many key challenges facing our communities are interconnected. Losing your job is devastating – even the prospect of a job loss can produce overwhelming anxiety. I understand how much our communities are hurting financially – and I have the needed experience to navigate our present economic downturn and produce successful results. I will work toward solutions that produce needed job security, not only by incentivizing more businesses to create jobs in Pierce County but also by increasing transportation opportunities and encouraging affordable housing near job centers.
As a member of the Lakewood City Council and Deputy Mayor of Lakewood, I helped Lakewood come out of the 2008 economic downturn stronger than ever. As a member of the Pierce County Council, I will continue to fight for revitalization in our communities as a key component of overall health.
I am prepared to serve Pierce County by leading the way on practical solutions to solve key challenges facing our communities, including the lack of mental health services. My record proves my commitment – and my ability – to produce the results we need. You can count on me to advocate for proper mental health funding.