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

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, it can be difficult to know where to look for help.

The network of services that exists — emergency rooms, psychiatric institutions, jails, courtrooms and law enforcement — don’t always coordinate with one another or provide the needed care for the situation at hand. And the system has become even more strained since the pandemic began.

Over the past month, The Seattle Times Mental Health Project has explored different facets of Washington’s mental health crisis response system — how it works or doesn’t — and examined solutions people are bringing to improve it.

If you’re looking for information and guidance on crisis response in Washington, including how to help, The Seattle Times Mental Health Project will be holding a live discussion with experts who work within the system. Join us for an hourlong conversation over Zoom at 3:30 p.m Wednesday, Sept. 7. To register for the free online event, please visit st.news/mentalhealthevent.

You can read the entire series there st.news/crisisresponse. For more information about the event, or if you have questions you would like to see addressed by the speakers, email mentalhealth@seattletimes.com or visit st.news/crisisquestions.

The panelists for the Sept. 7 events 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 staff psychiatrist at Harborview Medical Center (HMC), where he is the Medical Director for the Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES). He is also the Director of Psychiatry Clerkships at the UWSOM, coordinating clinical education in psychiatry across Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. In this capacity, he routinely lectures to primary care providers and residents on suicidality, psychosis, psychopharmacology and drug abuse.

Dr. Shawna Gallagher is the Behavioral Health Officer of the Seattle Indian Health Board, where she oversees Outpatient Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Programs. She has over 15 years of experience working in Native and non-Native mental health and substance-use-disorder outpatient/residential treatment facilities, as a direct practitioner and as a program director. Gallagher is an enrolled member of the Klamath Tribes and has worked for the Colville Tribes and the Tulalip Tribes assisting with program development.

Bob Graham is the Statewide Program Manager for Crisis Intervention Team training in Washington. The program provides training for police and other criminal justice personnel who often respond to people in a mental health crisis.

Shaida Hossein is the Director of Counseling and Mental Health Education at Jewish Family Service (JFS). In this role, Hossein leads nationally recognized courses designed to give participants skills to help someone struggling with common mental health concerns and mental health crises. She graduated with her clinical doctorate from Creighton University and moved to Seattle in 2012. She is a certified instructor for Adult, Youth and Teen Mental Health First Aid curricula along with Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Suicide Alertness for Everyone (safeTALK) by LivingWorks.

Susie Kroll is a Co-Responding 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-responding since late 2016 and has started co-response programs in six departments in King and Snohomish counties. Kroll consults nationally on co-response program development and instructs at the Criminal Justice Training Commission.

Mental health resources from The Seattle Times

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