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Promoting Public Health

Two women smile and pose in front of a fire engine red SUV with lights on top
ADS case managers Donna Andrews and Ashley Clayton pose in front of SFD’s Health One vehicle.

Promoting Public Health is one of Seattle Human Services’ (HSD) six key impact areas. Our vision: All people living in Seattle experience moderate to optimum health conditions. And, across the board, we strive to ensure that people of color do not experience disparities.

During the month of September, we will be highlighting public health investments and awareness campaigns across multiple platforms.

Today, we begin with a quick summary of HSD investments in public health—behavioral and physical health and health planning:

  • Accountable Communities of Health—The City partners with King County to improve health care delivery through HealthierHere, the Accountable Community of Health for King County, working to transform the way health care is delivered and build an integrative system for medical, social, behavioral, and community health. Last month, HealthierHere announced HSD investments that will increase access to health care and improved health outcomes among people who are uninsured or underinsured. 
  • Elder Abuse Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT)—HSD’s Aging and Disability Services (ADS) Division participates in a multi-disciplinary team working to prevent elder abuse. The MDT partnership includes the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and Adult Protective Services. Together, we provide a coordinated response for victims of elder abuse and people experiencing self-neglect. 
  • Mobile Crisis Team—HSD contracts with King County to provide a Mobile Crisis Team as a 911 alternative/ behavioral health response. Teams of two (2) mental health clinicians who also have additional training in the field of substance use disorders accept referrals from first responders (police and fire), Crisis Connections, and Designated Crisis Responders for eligible individuals who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis, including mental health and/or substance use crisis. The Behavioral Health Response Team (BHRT), an extension of Mobile Crisis Team services, is made up of a Mental Health Profession supervisor and two Peer Navigators. The BHRT works in collaboration with existing crisis response teams to respond to and help resolve crises in the community, or to address the needs of individuals with high utilization of the 911 system due to suspected behavioral health. 
  • Mobile Integrated Health Partnership—HSD and the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) launched a mobile health response as a 911 alternative. Through the Health One Program, which was launched in 2019, HSD partners with SFD to support a mobile integrated health response. Through this response, we’re able to immediately assist individuals in their moment of need and by helping them navigate the situation. This includes medical care, mental health care, shelter, or other social services. 
  • PEARLS—HSD ADS’s Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives (PEARLS) educates older veterans about depression—what it is (and is not) and the skills they need for self-sufficiency and more active lives. The program takes place in the older adult’s home or in a community-based setting that is accessible and comfortable for older adults who do not see other mental health programs as a good fit for them.  
  • Public Health—Seattle-King County (PHSKC)—PHSKC is a joint department between City of Seattle and King County that operates through an interlocal agreement. City investments in PHSKC support behavioral health services including healthcare access for people living homeless, a significant portion of which focuses on substance abuse, mental health, and medication management; Drug User Health and Harm Reduction services, e.g., needle exchange, crisis response; and treatment and recovery services. 
  • Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD)—The City partners with King County on the MIDD local sales tax initiative. The state legislature created the option for counties to support behavioral health services locally by increasing the local sales tax by 0.1 percent to augment state funding for behavioral health services and therapeutic courts. State law (RCW 82.14.460) requires that revenue raised under the MIDD must be used for new and expanded mental health and substance use disorder services. Participation in MIDD enables counties to leverage state and federal resources for behavioral health.  
  • Youth—HSD’s Youth and Family Empowerment (YFE) Division funds behavioral and mental health programs that provide culturally appropriate counseling services tailored to the individual needs, interests, strengths and goals of each youth and his/her/their family. Services are based on assessment results, guided by individualized treatment plans, and encompass prevention and intervention strategies. 

If you have questions about any of these investments, feel free to contact the HSD Health Integration Specialist Jeff Sakuma (