Washington governor proposes plans to fix mental health

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled his budget and policy plans for fixing the state’s struggling mental health system in the coming years.

Inslee said at a news conference in Burien Tuesday that he wants to change the system from being “crisis-based” to focusing on prevention.

The governor also reiterated his plan to move mental health care away from large institutions to smaller community-based centers. He proposes opening supported housing in communities so that people will be closer to their families.

Inslee said he wanted to invest in the troubled Western State Hospital to address safety concerns there, but he didn’t mention the rise in assaults at the state’s largest psychiatric hospital.

His written plan calls for $56 million for infrastructure at Western and Eastern state hospitals. It doesn’t mention an increase in staffing, which is what workers want.