Two mental health facilities are opening, one each in Island and Snohomish counties.
In the past, Stanwood and Camano Island residents had to travel to regional facilities, but now there are options closer to home. And regionally, it’s more likely there will be room when a crisis arises because there are more total services.
Pioneer Human Services is contracted to run both facilities. PHS operates facilities in Bellingham, Mount Vernon, Spokane and in King and Pierce counties with a range of counseling, treatment and transitional housing programs designed to help those with mental health and substance use disorders that might otherwise have them ending in the hospital or in jail.
Oak Harbor facility
Delayed by supply chain issues that affected the arrival of furniture, Ituha Stabilization Center began operating in Oak Harbor at the end of June.
It opened with 10 beds, with the capacity to expand to 16 if needed. The facility cost $6 million to build, with the state covering $5 million and North Sound Behavioral Health Administrative Services Organization contributing $1 million.
Ituha is a short-term, voluntary haven for those in crisis with mental health or substance use problems.
With professional help, most people can work through a crisis and be stabilized within three days. They work through issues, look at options, identify long-term treatment plans and connect to local outpatient services for support when they leave.
“We’ve got a lot of people who can benefit from this,” Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson said. “Our goal is to get them connected with services close to home.”
Stabilization centers provide early intervention before a problem escalates into a full-blown crisis.
Resources such as this divert people from emergency rooms and jails, which have long been the only options available, Johnson said. This center is a place for those who aren’t a danger to themselves or others, but need help and don’t require long-term involuntary holds.
Ituha is the only short-term facility in Island County. Before it opened, residents had to go to facilities elsewhere in the state, if they could find an opening. Ituha eases pressure on regional facilities.
North Sound Behavioral Health Treatment Center is opening this month Everett to help adults struggling with behavioral health issues.
The facility makes use of unused space at Denney Juvenile Justice Center. Denney, built in the mid-1990s, had 130 beds, but in recent years the number of beds needed fell into the single digits because justice reforms kept kids out of detention.
The $17.5 million renovation of the unused Denney space was funded by the state Department of Commerce, $11.3 million; North Sound Behavioral Health, $3.3 million; and Snohomish County, $2.8 million.
The renovated area has two adult units, each with 16 beds. One unit will help those with a primary addiction to opioids. The other unit will treat those with addiction issues and mental health needs.
Most treatment services will be funded through Medicaid. Previously, those on Medicaid had to leave Snohomish County for this kind of care. They often had to go to Eastern Washington, which made it difficult for family engagement and education.