King County Executive Dow Constantine today announced receipt of $1.6 million in new state funding to expand intensive mental health and crisis response services for individuals at risk of psychiatric hospitalizations.
“With these urgently-needed funds we can more quickly reach people with mental illness who need treatment to avoid costly and traumatic emergency room care and incarcerations,” said Executive Constantine. “For those who require involuntary commitment, we will also be able to create more effective discharge plans that better protect them and our community.”
The funding will enhance services in three areas of crisis response and intensive service planning for people with severe mental illness:
- Services to help clients remain stable: Funding will double the current number of next-day appointments from five per week to 10 per week, and provide additional services to help clients remain stable.
- Enhanced safety for patients and community upon discharge: Funds to double the size of a Transition Support Program for design and implementation of hospital discharge plans that will more safely and successfully move people back to the community and reduce re-hospitalization.
- Expand Mobile Crisis Team services at the Crisis Solutions Center: Funding will allow King County to double the size of the Mobile Crisis Team, which swiftly contacts people in the community, connects them with services at the Crisis Solutions Center or through a next-day appointment. This will result in speedier response to community crisis calls and fewer detentions.
The funds will be administered by the King County Department of Community and Human Services starting April 1, 2014.
The funding comes in advance of new state legislation effective July 1, 2014 that will significantly change involuntary commitment laws, in ways that are expected to increase service needs and hospitalizations.
The state Department of Social and Health Services is distributing a total of $23 million to Regional Support Networks across the state to improve the availability, access and coordination of intensive mental health services. The funding supports implementation of Senate Bill 5480, which sets new standards for involuntary mental health treatment. The bill set aside funding to create specialized crisis services to respond to the expected increase of individuals in the mental health system as a result of the new law on involuntary commitment.