VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler toured the Clark County Jail on Thursday to learn how deputies help inmates with mental health issues and addiction.
The Camas Republican noted that across the county, a need exists for facilities that can provide short-term inpatient treatment for people who suffer from psychiatric disorders and substance abuse issues.
She believes many inmates dealing with mental health and addiction would be better suited in a separate facility in Clark County, one that would put more of the focus on their needs.
To help, she's introduced a bipartisan bill, The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Accessibility Act of 2017, that would use federal money to build that facility.
The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Accessibility Act of 2017 provides resources necessary to combat the shortage of mental health providers and inpatient beds across the nation by allowing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide loans and loan guarantees to local entities with plans to build psychiatric and substance abuse facilities.
Congressman Herrera Beutler said she is proud of what deputies are already doing to help people in the Clark County jail, and was able to learn about programs implemented in the last three years that help people get back on their feet, find jobs, and housing.
But she said there is a desperate need for more space, and more beds.
“It was exactly what I needed to see. I needed to see the situation as it is, and there are more needs and more resources than they actually have here currently and so, we need to do better,” she said.