King County Council raises awareness of mental health issues in King County

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Photo: King County Councilmembers with David Stone, CEO of Sound Mental Health (holding recognition), and Amnon Shoenfeld, Director of King County’s Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division (behind Stone).”

On May 9, the Metropolitan King County Council proclaimed May “Mental Health Month” in King County to raise awareness of mental health issues and the growing number of treatment options available in the community. A health issue that was once discussed in whispers is gradually seeing this stigma disappear.

“As a former director of an emergency services office, mental health issues and the importance of finding treatment for those who need it are not abstract concepts for me,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson, who presented the proclamation. “It is important that we take time to recognize the importance of mental health and help those who are struggling.”

Mental disorders affect over twenty percent of adult Americans in any given year. May has been nationally recognized as “Mental Health Month” since 1949 in an effort to focus on mental health and mental wellness.

“Even with our society’s many technological and medical breakthroughs, there remains significant misunderstandings regarding the nature of mental illness,” said David Stone, CEO of Sound Mental Health, King County’s largest mental health services provider. “I appreciate what the Council has done to address these issues and its continued commitment to raising awareness of mental health and recovery in our community.”

Today’s recognition was presented on the same day the County Council accepted the annual report on the dedicated one-tenth of one cent sales tax that funds chemical dependency and mental health treatment programs and services. The investment of dedicated funding adopted by the Council in 2007 has resulted in a significant decrease in hospitalizations and jail stays for mental health clients.

King County provides mental health and substance abuse services to low income individuals in need, including crisis intervention, community mental health treatment, and supportive services that enhance the effectiveness of mental health treatment such as help with housing and employment. King County is also home to the nationally recognized Mental Health Court, which helps address public safety and reduce criminalization of individuals with mental illness. King County’s Mental Health Court recently celebrated 10 years of success.

From the Council Communications Office


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