Letter to the editor: Urgent need

To the editor:

I had the honor of serving on the Bert Nash board for nine years. During my term, Lawrence Memorial Hospital closed its in-patient psych unit. That was a devastating blow for our community, and we have had no viable options for persons in crisis ever since. Today we have an extraordinary opportunity to take care of our legal obligation to inmates and expand our capacity to treat persons with mental illness who are in crisis. 

Douglas County, law enforcement and Bert Nash have been excellent mental health partners in our community for many years. These professionals, along with our elected officials, have extensively researched best practices to improve mental health capacity and treatment options for our community, as well as expanding alternatives to incarceration, enhancing re-entry success and reducing recidivism in our inmate populations.

Our county commissioners are dedicated public servants who work daily for the best interests of our community. Our sheriff, who has also served on the Bert Nash board, understands the importance of treating persons experiencing mental health challenges with sensitivity and respect. The facts support the urgent need for expanding the jail, and from personal family experience I know how desperately we need the crisis center. I am confident our elected officials have developed a solid plan to address both of these pressing community needs.

Please take one of the jail tours and attend one of the informational meetings. You will learn how urgently we need both of these initiatives to pass. Join me in voting yes on Proposition One.