EVENT: Learn about WA’s mental health system and how you can help in a crisis

The Mental Health Project is a Seattle Times initiative focused on coverage of mental and behavioral health issues. It is funded by Ballmer Group, a national organization focused on the economic mobility of children and families. The Seattle Times maintains editorial control over the work produced by this team.

If you or someone you know is going through a mental health crisis, it can be difficult to know where to seek help.

The network of services that exist – emergency rooms, psychiatric facilities, prisons, courtrooms and law enforcement – ​​do not always coordinate with each other or provide the care needed for the current situation. And the system has become even more strained since the start of the pandemic.

Over the past month, the Seattle Times Mental Health Project has been exploring different facets of Washington’s mental health crisis response system — how it’s working or not — and looking at what solutions people are coming up with to improve it.

If you’re looking for information and advice on responding to the crisis in Washington, including how to help, the Seattle Times Mental Health Project will host a live chat with experts who work within the system. Join us for an hour-long conversation on Zoom at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 7. To register for the free online event, please visit st.news/mentalhealthevent.

You can read the whole series at st.news/crisisresponse. For more information about the event, or if you have any questions you’d like to see speakers address, email [email protected] or visit st.news/crisisquestions.

The panelists for the September 7 event are:

Paul Borghesani is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is board certified and currently works as a psychiatrist at Harborview Medical Center (HMC), where he is the Medical Director of Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES). He is also director of psychiatry rotations at UWSOM, coordinating clinical training in psychiatry in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. In this capacity, he regularly lectures to primary care providers and residents on suicidality, psychosis, psychopharmacology and substance abuse.

Dr. Shawna Gallagher is the Behavioral Health Officer for the Seattle Indian Health Board, where she oversees outpatient mental health and addictions programs. She has over 15 years of experience working in Indigenous and non-Indigenous ambulatory/residential care settings in mental health and addictions, as a direct practitioner and program director. Gallagher is an enrolled member of the Klamath Tribes and has worked for the Colville Tribes and the Tulalip Tribes helping to develop the program.

Bob Graham is the statewide program manager for training crisis response teams in Washington. The program provides training for police and other criminal justice personnel who often deal with people in mental health crisis.

Shaida Hossein is the Director of Mental Health Counseling and Education at the Jewish Family Service (JFS). In this role, Hossein leads nationally recognized courses designed to equip participants with the skills to help someone struggling with common mental health issues and mental health crises. She earned her clinical doctorate from Creighton University and moved to Seattle in 2012. She is a certified instructor for adult, youth, and adolescent mental health first aid programs, as well as applied intervention skills training. Suicide Awareness (ASIST) and Suicide Awareness for All (safeTALK) by LivingWorks.

Susie Kroll is a co-response mental health professional for the Redmond Police Department and a member of the King County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Negotiation Team. She has been co-response since late 2016 and has launched co-response programs in six departments in King and Snohomish counties. Kroll consults nationally on the development of co-response programs and teaches at the Criminal Justice Training Commission.

Seattle Times mental health resources

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