This is an open letter submitted for public commentary to Snohomish County on March 21, 2022.
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing in support of the psychiatric treatment center getting built north of Stanwood. I hope my personal story will help people better understand how this facility will meet needs while not posing a threat to the neighboring community.
I am a 30-year-old male living with schizophrenia. I am also a college graduate with an Associate’s Degree. I live on my own, and I sit on two boards: NAMI Seattle and the Arc of King County. I have worked for the past 8 years at a local grocery store and more recently at an athletic club. I also volunteer for various causes.
At birth, I was three months premature and weighed only 1 pound. I am 1 of 6 children raised by a single mother, and I understand the importance of community, family, mentors, and support systems.
I spent many months during my early 20s in and out of Harborview Hospital’s psychiatric ward. During that time, I lived in a mental health facility through Transitional Resources (TransitionalResources.org). Shortly after my 22nd birthday, I found the medication that worked best for me, and I have been on that medication since.
The support I received from family, community and mental health organizations saved my life. I have excelled tremendously! I attended Bellevue College’s Occupational Life Skills Program, and during my time there I spoke at our State Legislature and helped pass Washington State House Bill 1199, which makes it possible for individuals to work more and not lose their Medicaid. I also received several awards for my work on this bill.
I continue to be part of the Transitional Resources outpatient program, where I have a case manager, psychiatrist, and proper medication management. I will always defend the mentally ill and speak up for the many voices that go unheard in the mental health system. So many people struggling with mental illness are like me, in need of assistance so that we can become productive and integrated members of our communities.
I urge all who read this to take the time to better understand mental illness and the various needs of people like me. Here are some resources:
Thank you for your time.
Sincerely, Joey Wilson