WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) recently introduced the Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act, which would provide access to funding for states, cities and counties, and tribal governments to build, operate, and expand one-stop crisis care centers. One-stop behavioral health crisis care centers provide critical crisis stabilization services and wraparound services to individuals experiencing a mental health or behavioral health crisis. Organizations working at the local and federal level have voiced their support for the Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act.

See below for statements of support for the Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act.

“Over the past decade, the City of Seattle’s support of behavioral health services has grown dramatically due to greater awareness of how to serve people with mental health needs. We strive to provide individuals with holistic care, rather than sending them to hospitals or prisons. This movement has led to a growing need for organizations that can provide this type of care. Locally, we are working to coordinate our efforts with King County to increase the capacity and number of these centers, including through the County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency tax. However, we face a severe shortage of available centers and beds in Seattle for those in need.

"Congressman Smith’s legislation will fill this critical gap by funding behavioral health crisis care centers. These centers are increasingly recognized as an alternative approach to help those in crisis. Building upon the model of the Downtown Emergency Services Center in Seattle, they provide not only a safe physical location for individuals, but also wraparound services to address their physical and mental health conditions and other needs. Critically, they also allow individuals to remain in their communities—deepening their sense of stability, allowing them to put down roots, and helping them heal through the support and care of their neighbors.” - Mayor Bruce Harrell, City of Seattle

Read the full letter of support from Mayor Bruce Harrell here.

“We appreciate Representative Smith’s critical leadership in mustering much-needed federal support for local behavioral health crisis care systems, which, ideally, can act as one-stop centers to connect people with the service providers they need. His Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act could help to ensure that people experiencing homelessness are prioritized for housing and the services they need to stay safely and securely housed.” - National Alliance to End Homelessness

“I applaud Congressman Smith for his continued advocacy to ensure local governments and community organizations have the tools and necessary funding to address the growing and intertwined housing insecurity and behavioral health needs of people in our region. If we are to be successful in significantly reducing homelessness and supporting our community members who are struggling with complex behavioral health and substance use disorders, we must ensure there are robust, easily accessible and equitable systems in place to respond to individuals in crisis. Congressman Smith’s Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act would create programs to support proactive outreach to high needs populations and tenants of subsidized housing programs - including those operated by KCHA - who research shows are more likely to have behavioral health conditions than the broader population. The capacity to scale up flexible, community-driven, cross-sector programming is exactly what we need to fully support each individual living in our housing and across our region.” - Robin Walls, Executive Director, King County Housing Authority

“As we all work to address the crisis of homelessness, housing insecurity, and systemic inequities, we have to focus on the needs of individuals. I truly appreciate the Congressman putting a focus on Behavioral Health Care. Crisis services and centers are integral in supporting individuals, in both short and long-term crisis situations. Typically, people that access these services and centers most are those with chronic needs, so we appreciate all efforts to allocate funds between chronic and one-time needs. This investment will be useful in supporting high needs and mitigating a one-time crisis turning into a chronic support need. All in all, the system is deeply lacking and this investment will help with long term stability for people in crisis.” - April Black, Executive Director, Tacoma Housing Authority

“The Seattle Housing Authority applauds Representative Smith for introducing this legislation to address the increasing behavioral health needs that are impacting so many people. We have seen firsthand the impact the pandemic has had on our residents. We make every effort to connect people to help so we can keep them housed safely but the current system is overburdened and does not have the resources to provide response and care for the growing number of people in serious crisis. This legislation would provide a relief valve for those in crisis and that is something that is needed. We are very appreciative of Congressman Smith’s recognition of this deeply concerning situation and his action to expand options for treatment.” - Rod Brandon, Executive Director, Seattle Housing Authority

“Every day, our staff and clients are faced with the realities of an underfunded, over-capacity behavioral health system. The Behavioral Health Crisis Center Act would change this reality by creating therapeutic, compassionate settings where our young people and other community members can receive the holistic services needed to heal. We are deeply grateful to Congressman Smith for proposing this bill.” - Jessie Friedman, Director of Public Policy, YouthCare

“Although the dedicated clinicians of Valley Cities provide excellent evidence-based services to our clients, there is a substantial unmet need when it comes to mental health and substance use care, far more so than physical health care needs. More than 2 in 5 Americans (42%) report needing mental health care over the past 12 months and about 1 in 4 (24%) report needing substance use care during that timeframe. More than 2 in 5 Americans who needed mental health care (43%) or substance use care (43%) in the past 12 months did not receive it, compared to only about 1 in 5 of those who needed primary care (21%) and did not receive it. The majority of those who did not get needed mental health or substance use care experienced negative impacts as a result, especially related to personal relationships, work, mental wellbeing and some increased use of alcohol and other drugs to cope. More than a third of Americans who did not get needed mental health care in the past 12 months (37%) say cost related issues (i.e., no insurance, out of pocket costs) prevented them from getting care. The Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act would do much to help mitigate this crisis.” - Shekh Ali, CEO, Valley Cities

More information about the Behavioral Health Crisis Care Centers Act can be found here.
 
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