Nearly one in five Americans suffers from a mental illness, and about one in 25 has a serious mental illness, but public resources are few. Too many people who need treatment instead end up in jail — or worse. Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman has pushed long and hard for better resources in his county, which experienced “worse” five years ago when a mentally ill Fort Bragg man eluded authorities in coastal forests for a month after killing two people.
Allman kept working after a mental health plan and a half-cent sales tax to pay for it fell just short of the two-thirds majority required for approval in the November 2016 election. Voters rewarded him this week with an 82 percent majority in favor of Measure B, which is expected to generate $38 million to build psychiatric facilities and provide treatment for mental illness and drug addiction.
Mendocino County closed its last psychiatric facility in 1999. Thumbs up to Allman for his hard work on the issue and to Mendocino County voters for making it a priority.