Opinion

Letters to the Editor

Understanding the crisis triage center

Most have heard of the one tenth of one percent Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Sales Tax approved by Kitsap County Commissioners last year.    Some probably haven’t even noticed the sales tax rise on their cash register receipts as it moved from 8.6 to 8.7 percent on Jan. 1. The tax is estimated to collect about $3 million in its first year. This small bump in tax revenue will bring much needed assistance to our community in ways that just a year ago would still be out of reach.

A Crisis Triage Stabilization Center (CTSC) has been proposed for funding using the new sales tax among other proposals. This type of center is not a new idea, but one that our community health leaders and medical experts have analyzed, vetted and attempted to bring in as a powerful treatment resource for over a decade. The proposed local CTSC facility is modeled after existing operations in Snohomish, Pierce, Spokane and other counties that are currently showing success. For years, general funding has been so restricted that it prevented a CTSC from becoming a reality here in Kitsap.   The CTSC is a facility that brings an alternative, medically aligned approach for those needing help with mental health and chemical addictions.

Our local streets, the jail, courts and emergency rooms are filled with people needing to bridge the current gaps in existing services. Our jail has become the largest ad-hoc mental health and chemical addiction housing facility in the county simply because there is no other place available.  The jail is expensive and a temporary solution that isn’t designed as a treatment facility nor is it set up to solve the actual problems that create the negatively impactful behaviors and community issues.

The CTSC proposed is one of the largest steps forward towards bringing actual solutions to our community in the area of substance abuse, mental health issues and low level crime. The triage center is designed as a 24/7 facility with 16 short term beds. This is more beds than Kitsap County has ever seen tasked locally and specifically for the mentally ill and chemically dependent. Proposed staffing for the facility will be fully trained medical, substance abuse and mental health professionals rather than law enforcement. The job of the facility is to receive, stabilize and connect those in need to long term services within the community. Basically, get the proper help and services to those suffering from addiction and mental health issues rather than temporarily incarcerating and then ultimately just dumping them back onto the street.

The public outcry has been loud and alarming as an increasing number of the mentally ill have gone without treatment and escalated into crisis.  Unfortunately, a small number of these incidents end badly with the mentally ill being injured or worse. Our local law enforcement does an excellent job considering the limited training received and limited options available. County-wide our local law enforcement will be funded through the new sales tax to receive further training and skills in de-escalating these crisis events for better outcomes. The community doesn’t hear of the many daily incidents our law enforcement encounter until one goes badly. Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) will help better equip our officers but there still needs to be a place to take those requiring stabilization and a connection to the appropriate services.

The Crisis Triage Stabilization Center is a critical component and funds have been reserved through the sales tax increase to build and start the facility this year. There is a rather large funding problem to be tackled in making the facility a reality and a long term sustainable solution. Even though the Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Sale Tax has reserved about $700,000 to build and start the facility, a means of funding its annual $2.6 million in operating cost is more than the created tax can fund on its own. The mental health tax could possibly help with a portion of the annual costs but other sources must be identified and utilized.

Local health experts, elected leaders and mental health professionals are all working together to find the means for ongoing funding of the triage center. They have made it a high priority and are closer than ever to making these long shelved plans a reality. The belief is that this time they will be successful.

The Crisis Triage Stabilization Center combined with Crisis Intervention Training for our local law enforcement officers brings a much higher level of help and assistance to a section of our community that needs it the most.

Robert Parker, Bremerton

 

How long must we endure?

President Obama does not deserve to be president of our great nation. He has disgraced our people. He has lied to them over and over again. Now he has taken away their insurances with almost nothing to fall back on. Their food stamps are becoming more worthless all the time. The children can be given breakfast and lunch during the week, but not on the weekends. So they must rely on churches and benevolent people to supply them with food over the weekends.

When the huge banks needed help, he jumped at the chance to bail them out. He even changed the laws to make himself more powerful — the same as Hitler did prior to the wars in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.

And, using the new laws to rob the unfortunate Jews, Hitler took their lands, their homes, their jewelry, their businesses and shipped them off to concentration camps where they were tortured and killed in furnaces.

How long must we endure a leader who doesn’t know the first thing about compassion and only wants power?

Florence Meyer, Bremerton

 

Help Stamp Out Hunger 2014

The eight members of the Kitsap County Food Bank Coalition would like to thank the letter carriers and rural delivery letter carriers who came together to collect food in a county wide food drive May 10.

“Help Stamp Out Hunger” is a nationally based effort by letter carriers who generously provide their time after paid hours to make this happen.

The combined total of donations for our agencies was 61,752 pounds. It was a long day for them and each letter carrier whether on foot or in a vehicle deserves our heartfelt thanks! We also thank the countless number of volunteers who sorted and boxed the donations for each agency … literally hundreds of people helped.

Where does the food go? We want to reassure you that all food collected and any monetary donation goes to the local food assistance agencies right here in Kitsap County.

Food drives mean a lot to agencies that are feeling the pinch as more people come for emergency food. If you didn’t make a mailbox donation this year, please consider dropping off food or a monetary donation at the assistance agency in your neighborhood. Our members are all nonprofit agencies registered with the State of Washington Charitable Division. You can see that information at our website www.kcfbc.com which includes links to each member agency.

The letter carriers of Bremerton want to make special mention of the Kitsap Blue Cross Blue Shield volunteers who serve them a lunch for the event.

We ask that you thank your letter carrier and keep us in mind for next year.  We are already working on ideas for next year’s campaign to make improvements.

Thank you for your support!

Kitsap County Food Bank Coalition Members

 

 

School shootings are preventable tragedies

All school shootings could have been prevented and curtailed immediately. Not by blaming guns or mental illness (or futile bloviaring as liberal Democrats and yes, rino Republicans like to do, so as to expand false hope as a fix-all to these tragedies when decisive actions equal to the tragedy even more intense if necessary would stop these killers now.

If the bad guy cannot enter the school because of armed security at every entrance of every school and college in the U.S. It’s a win-win for the students’ peace of mind. The bad guy is cut down before, not after the tragedies occur. The truth can be a bitter reality. The bad guy loses and your children are safe. Ignore the truth and children keep on dying. Attack this homegrown terrorism and all of us win.

Another bitter truth is that we have become a nation without a soul. We abort over 400 innocent lives daily in the name of women’s rights. With no more remorse than tossing out yesterday’s newspapers. Is it any wonder that some of these children adopt these horrible values constantly being bombarded at home and in our schools worth the miscasting diatribe daily?

Going to church on Sunday and aborting babies on Monday is not OK. In the end you will find out. Enough said.

Vern LaPrath, Bremerton

 

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