Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Comment: NAMI-Eastside lobbies State legislators for mental health funding

Image may contain: 10 people, people smiling, indoor
Rep. Paul Graves (right center) with NAMI-Eastside volunteers during "Mental Health Lobby Day."

NAMI-Eastside members spent all day yesterday lobbying our Eastside legislators for mental health funding.  Many of us asked for out-patient psychiatric services. This photo was taken of us with Representative Paul Graves in his office.  

Representative Graves is in the 5th Legislative District encompassing Maple Valley, Issaquah, North Bend, Carnation and Black Diamond.  He responded very favorably to our message, with sensitivity to the shame we face. He's a big advocate for foster children and is the primary sponsor of House Bill 2256 "Online Availability Of Foster Parent Preservice Training,"  The bill passed House and is currently under review by the Senate.

NAMI-Eastsiders lobbied 10 other legislators including: Senator Patty Kuderer, Representative Joan McBride and Representative Vandana Slatter of the 48th Legislative District; and Senator Manka Dhingra, Larry Springer, and Roger Goodman of the 45th Legislative District.  

Bob Yoder
48th District resident


Emily Johnson said...

Thanks for sharing and for doing this hard work. We all should support improved mental health services. They are a big piece of the puzzle in homelessness and school shootings too.

Bob Yoder said...

Emily - I've done some research on this and found 3 good articles addressing guns & mental health. Here's a link to one of them: https://psychiatryonline.org/doi/pdf/10.5555/appi.books.9781615371099

Thanks for your comment!

Bob Yoder said...

The following is my story I read to legislatures during "Lobby Day" at the Capital:

"I’m Bob Yoder, a 38 year resident of Redmond, WA and member of NAMI. As a person who’s lived with bipolar for 42 years I’d like to share my story with you and ask for your support to fully fund a Comprehensive Behavioral Health System in Washington.

I graduated from college in 1973 holding two medical sales jobs in the PNW and participating in sports and outdoor activities of all kinds. Then, in 1980 Mt. St Helen’s blew – and so did I with a psychotic break. (I was thinking excessively about religion.) I lost a “dream job” selling physiological monitors for Beckman Instruments. Harborview wouldn’t take me and I was involuntarily committed in Florida where my parents lived. My career was shanghaied and I’ve since had 8 other corporate medical sales jobs totaling 24 years work; and 4 part-time jobs as well.

Though Lithium was the only drug available to treat bipolar 47 years ago it helped, but I still self-treated my moods with alcohol. After jumping from one psychiatrist to another – over 10 – by luck I found a young science-based doctor at Overlake Medical Center a year ago who immediately took be off a strong, debilitating anti-psychotic that basically ruined my life for over three years. I’m now effectively treated with three medications and can see my doctor most anytime I need him. Whenever I need support my wife and sister are there for me.

I’m semi-retired and can now finally speak up without fear of losing a job or not getting hired. I’m finally expunging my shame and seizing the day. I’m advocating for those who can’t by writing Letters to the Editor, posting stories and encouraging EvergreenHealth to expand their mental health services.

Out-patient behavioral health clinics with quality psychiatrists are sorely needed; and we need many more of them. I know it’s a big ask, but can I count on you to persuade your peers to find $248M this year to fully fund mental health in our State? Thank you for your consideration."