Franklin County Commissioners meet to discuss the future of Ment - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Franklin County Commissioners meet to discuss the future of Mental Health Care

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PASCO, WA - Franklin County Commissioners and other community members met Wednesday morning to talk about the future of Mental Health Care in the Tri-Cities.

     Earlier this summer, Benton and Franklin Counties agreed to get out of their current contract with Greater Columbia Behavioral Health services to open the door for a new contractor.

     Wednesday morning it was announced Lourdes Counseling is in the process to get the license to take over crisis response services and they are the only applicant.

     The question now is what will those services look like moving forward?

     Cindy House- Miskho with the Community Citizen's Alliance told us the memory of her son is the main reason she's working to advocate for a change in the structure of mental health services in the area.

     "My son passed away here in the Tri-Cities and had mental health issues. Unfortunately he fell through the safety net that needs to be there for our families," said Miskho.

     The Community Citizen's Alliance, an advisory group formed less than a year ago says the success of mental health services lies in simplifying the process.

     Right now the group is looking to bring a representative from Bexar County, Near San Antonio Texas to talk about their national award winning one-stop model.

     "Every community is different, so the one-stop program that they have, we are going to use it as a template and then try to make it work for our community," said Kenneth Taylor, who's son struggles with mental illness.

      Comissioner Rick Miller said looking to Bexar County is a good idea. Part of the one-stop model would include involving different sectors of the community.

     "To educate the public as to how mental health affects pretty much everybody in our society," said Taylor. 

     Including law enforcement.

     "One of the things we want to get across is mental health goes hand in glove with law and justice," said Claude Oliver, former Benton County Commissioner.

     Lourdes Counseling would employ many of the same people currently at the crisis response center, in the same building.

     Mental health was also a big topic in the two recent meetings with the Department of Justice about changes in the Pasco Police Department.

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