Opinion: Improvements are needed in mental health care and oversight

The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority is presenting full-page updates touting the improvements in mental health care in the Anchorage Daily News.

I would like to see state agencies also point out needed improvements in mental health care and oversight: As an example, what are the number of people that rotate in and out of locked psychiatric facilities or units each year for a forced evaluation or treatment in and out of state? Those statistics are necessary as a foundation to good patient care.

In what I consider to be a failure of the state, there are no statistics of the number and type of psychiatric patient complaints and injuries in psychiatric facilities financially supported by the state. And there are no statistics of the number and type of traumatic events experienced by psychiatric patients locked in facilities.

In my opinion, the state’s refusal to keep and share statistics of patient complaints, injuries and traumatic events is done in the state’s self-interest and is harmful to patient recovery.

Dorrance Collins,


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