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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: North Bay / Marin | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons
Continuing Mental Health Care Post-Fires
In Sonoma County, the Jail alone is the largest psychiatric facility with 40 percent of inmates countywide suffering from some form of acute mental illness. Due to the destructive wildfires, allocated funds that would have gone to a developing mental health facility will most likely be redirected towards other venues, continuing to leave this population under-served.
In Sonoma County, the Jail alone is the largest psychiatric facility with 40 percent of inmates countywide suffering from some form of acute mental illness. Using jails as a substitute for mental hospitals is a short-term solution that causes more issues in the long run in terms of lack of treatment and high costs covered by Sonoma County’s taxpayers.
Long term solutions to provide care for a mentally ill homeless person would first, help the person and secondly, get them off the street. However, acute solutions are being used to solve a chronic issue. The lack of programs for individuals suffering from mental illness causes other public resources such as jails and hospitals to provide services.
Jails are not designed to provide long-term mental health care, but jails house more mentally ill individuals than hospitals do. A newer larger facility was in the plans of being developed, but with the recent devastation caused by the wildfires, the funds that would have gone to this will most likely be diverted.
We as a collective within the county should still let our voices be heard and let the officials that run our city and county understand that the long term care of our mentally ill should still be a priority.