EDITOR, Daily News:
Mental Health Awareness Month in Alaska — on a scale of one to ten was a three, a failing grade. The month of May should have been a time for state bureaucracies, including the Legislature, to reflect on what could be done to improve the quality of care and opportunities for individuals to recover from mental illness.
The state, private locked psychiatric facilities, units and others have been authorized to detain, evaluate and treat approximately 10,000 individuals with mental illness annually. The amount of time is from a few hours being evaluated to months in treatment.
The Department of Health and Social Services made a point of not knowing the number and type of psychiatric patient complaints and injuries during treatment or transportation in approximately 30 private psychiatric facilities or units. State law AS47.30.847 lets psychiatric facilities write the grievance and appeal process for psychiatric patients. State law AS47.30.660 (b) (13) lets DHSS delegate its responsibility of caring for psychiatric patients to private facilities with an insufficient state standard of care.
Giving advice to individuals with a mental illness is fine; but some effort should go to giving advice to the state to improve psychiatric patient rights and care.