Psychiatric patients in Alaska suffer under second-rate laws and rules that do not do enough to protect individuals whose only crime may be becoming mentally ill.
The Alaska government uses the same set of rules to build a road or fill a pothole as it does to treat psychiatric patients — “low bids and efficiency.” What is forgotten in this inflexible approach to treating psychiatric patients is the “human factor” — recidivism, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and resentment by patients.
Today the most vulnerable among us are individuals in locked psychiatric facilities or units, and individuals detained in jail or psychiatric emergency rooms while waiting for transfer to a psychiatric hospital and individuals during transport for psychiatric evaluation or treatment.
Providing psychiatric care is a billion-dollar-a-year business with an outdated and poor grievance procedure system for the consumers. Alaskan needs to make adjustments in the 21st century updating rules and laws to protect voluntary and involuntary psychiatric patients.
Alaska legislators should re-introduce a bill similar to last session’s Senate Bill 55 and pass it.
— Faith Myers and Dorrance Collins,