The Everett Herald: Community mental health services are in acute need

April 4, 2023

By Tom Sebastian, Jeff Thomas and Jodi Daly

Community behavioral health is key to the health and wellbeing in Washington state. In the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic, this couldn’t be more apparent.

As a mental health crisis looms, we, as community behavioral health care providers, are on the front lines, working to address some of the most critical challenges that face our region; from anxiety and depression to addiction and homelessness.

At the same time, we as behavioral health care providers are experiencing our own state of emergency. Chronic underfunding has led to an unprecedented workforce shortage; and left us unable to hire enough qualified staff to keep pace with demand. To cope, we’re making adjustments, which for many providers has meant reducing capacity for services, and ultimately, turning away those in need.

As community behavioral health providers, we are privileged to serve low-income individuals and families who qualify for Medicaid benefits; often the most vulnerable members of our communities, and many at risk for life-altering crises without tools to cope.

Every day, our teams deliver services that help kids thrive, families remain intact, and adults achieve mental wellness and recovery. Our work reduces homelessness and supports employment and self-sufficiency. We prevent mental health needs from becoming crises, reducing reliance on our law enforcement and emergency services partners, diverting trips to the hospital, and connecting community members to the most appropriate care options.

Read the full article here.