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By Laura Hickey, Project Self Care blogger.
My first exposure to mental illness was at age 12. My mom’s brother was going through a difficult divorce with the mother of his children, who was displaying symptoms of mental illness. Acting in ways that put my herself, my Uncle and cousins in danger. When I would hear family telling others about the divorce they would say “Well she was mentally ill” to explain the divorce. There always seemed to be a tone spoken about her that seemed like it was blaming her for her behavior. As a 12 year old who could not understand what was going on, I internalized mental illness as a character defect.
The Washington State Supreme Court determined that the practice of “psychiatric boarding”, or forcing people in mental health crisis to wait for hours, days, or even weeks in the Emergency Department to receive treatment, is unlawful.