Western State Hospital

Mental Health
8:00 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Assaults Are "Constant Disruption" At State Mental Hospitals

The main entrance of Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Wash.
John Ryan KUOW

Violence is a “constant disruption” at the state’s two main psychiatric hospitals, according to a new report jointly commissioned by The Department of Social and Health Services and the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW union that represents much of the front-line staff at the hospitals. 

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Safety Vs. Freedom
6:37 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

The Sanka Party Brews Activism Inside A Mental Hospital

The Sanka Party's homemade logo.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The Tea Party has become a fixture in American politics. But the Sanka Party? Not so much. Other than an interest in hot beverages, the two activist groups have little in common. The Sanka Party got started last summer near Tacoma, Wash., in the unlikeliest of places: inside the walls of the state’s largest psychiatric institution.

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No Beds For Mentally Ill
12:38 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

King County Calls For Fix In State Mental Health System

Many criminal defendants waiting for mental evaluation before civil commitment end up at Harborview's emergency department.
Seattle Municipal Archives Flickr

King County is facing a major problem. It doesn’t have enough beds for mentally ill people going through the court system. The county has nowhere to send them, and some are being released without treatment.

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Mental Health
3:25 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Safety And Suicide At Western State Hospital

What happens behind this door -- the main entrance of Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Wash. -- is hard to find out.
Credit John Ryan / KUOW

Editors' Note: This story contains graphic descriptions of suicide. If you or someone you know might be suicidal, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800.273.8255 (800.273.TALK).

Western State Hospital in Lakewood is the largest psychiatric institution in the Pacific Northwest. Its mission statement says the hospital:

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Mental Health
3:23 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Through The Cracks: The Life And Death Of Megan Templeton

Megan Templeton on her 20th birthday at Sunnyside Beach Park, Steilacoom, Wash. She died four days later.
Suzanne Kuhns

Editors' Note: This story contains graphic descriptions of suicide. If you or someone you know might be suicidal, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800.273.8255 (800.273.TALK).

In the past decade, a dozen Western State Hospital patients have killed themselves. More than a hundred others have tried.  Megan Templeton was the most recent. In April, she hanged herself in her hospital room. She had turned 20 the day before.

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