Letter to the editor: Commissioners must address mental health care needs – TribLIVE

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Thank you, Westmoreland County Commissioner Doug Chew, for working with the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) to prioritize improving mental health care in Pennsylvania. The economic, physical and emotional suffering related to covid-19 have led to a crisis situation.
Westmoreland County lacks adequate mental health care services. The covid-19 pandemic made this worse. The county mobile crisis unit logged over 600 calls in January! That means that 600 people were crying out for emergency mental health care.
We need Commissioners Gina Cerilli Thrasher and Sean Kertes to join Chew to address our emergent mental health care needs. Reestablish the Pathways stabilization/de-escalation unit at Excela Health, create a “Resolve” model 24/7 drop-in crisis center for community-based care, when it’s needed, and enhance mental health care access via telehealth to close gaps in care. These programs would save lives while preventing high costs in patient psychiatric admissions.
Westmoreland’s mental health crisis deserves priority attention. The county spent $7 million in ARP money for emergent parking garage repairs — let’s prioritize suicide prevention and enhanced mental health care with the same concern and expediency.
Commissioners, do the right thing: Use American Rescue Plan money for the people’s covid relief.
Diana Steck
North Huntingdon

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