Better mental health care needed | Letter

Mayor Angela Birney’s vision statement was just released — “A connected community that enhances livability and sustains the environment, and that places Redmond as a leader locally, regionally, and nationally.”

I really like it.

During the city official swearing in ceremony Minerva Butler of the EvergreenHealth board of commissioners addressed the council and mayor, lauding the outgoing city officials for their service. It’s clear the city is tightly connected with EvergreenHealth and Redmond should have every reason to work with this public hospital toward their goals for improved community health.

One health service seriously lacking at EvergreenHealth is mental health care — though I commend the hospital for recently taking a small step to hire a part-time psychiatrist for treatment of their Parkinson’s patients. EvergreenHealth’s service area is more than one million residents. Their families deserve much better mental health care than a part-time doctor and restricted in-home care.

It’s a known fact that one in five Americans have a mental health condition in a given year. This translates into well more than 13,000 Redmond residents/year (for our population of 65,000) struggling in some way with their mental health. This need deserves action from our public hospital.

Currently, EvergreenHealth’s commissioners are considering a “Behavioral Health Urgent Care” clinic to treat suicidal, depressed and anxious residents. Redmond officials should use their connections to help make this happen. EvergreenHealth serves Kirkland, Woodinville, Kenmore, and Bothell, as well. Redmond has the opportunity to be a local and regional leader for mental health care; our city officials should not pass this by.

Bob Yoder