Mental health budget makes gains in WA Legislature

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by Associated Press

kgw.com

Posted on April 7, 2013 at 1:03 PM

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) -- As state senators proposed cuts in social services this week, one area gained ground: money for treating mental illness.

The News Tribune reports budget writers understand how crucial this spending is in preventing dangerous people from being on the street instead of in treatment.

The Senate proposal and Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee's spending plan both spend nearly $16 million to avoid making mental health treatment backlogs any worse. And lawmakers have proposed loosing standards in detaining patients with mental illness. Existing standards are seen as too high to catch some dangerous people.

The two budgets also add $2.6 million to cover state psychiatric hospitals' unexpectedly high overtime costs. And they agree to add millions over the next two years for fences, metal detectors and other equipment, as well as extra nurses and security personnel.

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