Blog

Vote.

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Yes, it is that time of year. With all the yard signs, mailings and political ads flooding our streets, mailboxes and minds we find ourselves in systems overload. My husband and I have been in elected office for several years and yet we still refer to this time of year as “crazy season.” It can be so much that there is a temptation to just check out. But, PLEASE, don’t let that happen to you. I received a newsletter a while ago and would like to share an excerpt: “The League of Women Voters has been advocating for voting rights for 100 years. We have made progress, but there are still many people who for many reasons don't vote. Did you know that in 2016 there were more eligible voters…
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COVID-19 impacts on behavioral health

Health
A few years ago, the County Council established the Mobile Community Intervention Response Team to address a high number of calls to 911 that needed assistance, but not by traditional first responders like law enforcement or fire and rescue personnel. The program pairs a behavioral health professional from Comprehensive Life Resources (CLR), with a sheriff’s deputy or someone within emergency medical services. Together the team refers and connects people experiencing mental illness, substance abuse or other unmet medical needs with therapeutic outreach services. Prior to this program, many of these people ended up in jail or emergency rooms – all costly interventions that often resulted in repeat calls for service once individuals were released. Recently, the Council’s Human Service Committee received a report about the impact of COVID-19 on the…
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Be the change!

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I received an email from a Pierce County resident who was concerned with the number of people in our County that don’t seem to be taking this COVID virus seriously. And I have the same concerns. I have also heard from people that have asked us to “open” up the County again.  And then every day I receive reports that show that we continue to have new cases and new deaths every day. As of this writing (May 13, 2020) we have lost over 983 people in the State and 65 people in Pierce County to this virus - all ages, all areas. Just today another 13 cases in Pierce County were reported bringing our total up to 1,766. The total in the State is 17, 773 confirmed cases. Some…
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Concerns about work release plans

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The Legislature has authorized creating 200 beds for work release between June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Fifty of these beds will be allocated to Pierce County during this period. This action is not COVID-related but is intended to fill a need for inmates to transition out of prison in a way that reduces the chance of re-offending. But, COVID social distancing has inhibited the ability for me and my colleagues to do the kind of community outreach needed to ensure that you are informed and have input. I believe in being transparent with our public in these matters. So much so that I wrote a letter to the Governor, signed by the Executive and all Councilmembers, that expresses our concerns. In the letter, we encouraged the Governor to…
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Where to get help during the COVID-19 pandemic

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I continue to receive information about where to go to get help. Here are some other resources you may find helpful. Connie South Sound Outreach: Financial, Expenses, Health, Food, School Operation Plans/Meals, Employment and Health Care  Pierce County Human Services Response to COVID-19 Health Care Authority: Updates for Behavioral Health Providers and Medicaid Clients Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department  United Way: Free Meals During School Closures and Resources Beacon Health Options  Elevate Health COVID-19 Resource Center  Emergency Food Pantry Find Help Find food assistance, help paying bills, and other free or reduced cost programs that help people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Child Care Aware of WA Family Center is keeping track of all child care availability in King and Pierce County. The Family Center phone number is 1-800-446-1114. By contacting this number families can get…
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COVID-19 Temporary Care Centers

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I have been in communication with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and the County’s Emergency Management Director in addressing the concern people have about where to go if they have been exposed to COVID-19 but are not sick. We will be setting up Temporary Care Centers. Temporary Care Centers are effective and essential to slow the spread of disease and save lives. Pierce County will need several temporary care centers to house vulnerable Pierce County residents exposed to COVID-19 who don’t have a safe place to stay for the14-day quarantine period. We continue our work to identify assessment and recovery sites in West and East Pierce County. Click on the embedded image for detailed information.  
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COVID-19: Keeping You Informed

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The County is working in partnership with Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, the State Department of Health, the Governor, our local cities, our Congressional delegation, our local businesses, and non-profit providers. This only works if we know what each of us, (and those we represent) are doing, what is important to our constituents, what the is at the current moment and understand how to work together to problem solve. Everyday there is more information to digest, and more information to come. To help you stay informed I am sharing the following information. County Council The Council is continuing our Council meetings, but we have the ability to call in to the meeting. We are canceling committee meetings, we passed Resolution 2020-35  which directed $500,000 to food banks and shelters during this COVID-19…
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The vote for behavioral health funding

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It has been a week since the Pierce County Council failed to pass an ordinance to help fund services for behavior health. Now that my anger and frustration have settled, I am able to share with you some of my thoughts that I expressed the night of the vote. In 2005, the State Legislature authorized Counties’ legislative authority to pass a one tenth of 1% on sales and use tax to fund behavior health and therapeutic courts. If the tax would have passed last week, we would have realized about $13.1 million annually for Pierce County. Twenty-five jurisdictions have passed this tax in our State, every county this side of the Cascades, both big and small, Republican and Democratic led. Their leaders saw the need, acknowledged the ability to raise…
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Your behavioral health is worth a penny

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“Deja vu all over again,” an expression many of us have heard and used. According to Psychology Today, "Déjà Vu" is a common intuitive experience that has happened to many of us. The expression is derived from the French, meaning "already seen." When it occurs, it seems to spark our memory of a place we have already been, a person we have already seen, or an act we have already done. An act we have already done couldn’t be more accurate at this current point in time. In 2016, the County Council voted to pass a one-tenth of 1% sales and use tax for mental illness and substance use disorders. It failed on a vote of 4 in favor and 3 against. You may have noticed that is a majority…
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It’s Recovery Month!

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The month of September is recognized as National Recovery Month. The Pierce County Human Services Director Heather Moss, provided valuable information in her blog about resources available in Pierce County to address behavioral health crisis and recovery. This is such important information, that I wanted to be sure to share her blog, which you can find here and includes links to services.
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