In the wake of the pandemic, Seattle Children’s Hospital reports an increasing number of children need outpatient mental health treatment, but not enough providers exist to meet the demand.
“The devastating consequence of the inability to access outpatient care is that you’re likely to get worse and need emergency department or crisis level care,” said Kashi Arora, from Seattle Children’s Hospital.
House Bill 1800, now under consideration in the state Legislature, creates a behavioral workgroup to identify barriers to behavioral health services for families. It also helps develop a behavioral health plan for children and their caregivers.
“We need to make sure we’re not perpetuating a behavioral health system that cycles around crisis, that cycles around intensive care, but also is very focused on prevention, early education …and making sure we’re serving everyone that needs care when and where they need it,” said Rep. Lisa Callan, D-Issaquah, prime sponsor for the proposals.