The City of Snoqualmie was awarded a state grant to fund a pilot behavioral health emergency response and coordination program that will support first responders serving the communities of North Bend and Snoqualmie.
The $150,000 grant is part of recently passed state legislation designed to increase quality behavioral health co-response services and will fund a regional behavioral health coordinator specializing in the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.
The behavior health coordinator will work directly with and accompany police officers, as well as firefighters and EMTs, when responding to crisis calls involving people with behavioral health needs. Additionally, the new coordinator will work to support identified social service needs within the community.
Snoqualmie Police Chief Perry Phipps explained, “This will allow us to effectively respond to people in immediate crisis with the resource of a highly skilled professional who can facilitate better outcomes for community members in need.”
The grant will fund the new Behavioral Health Coordinator position in 2023. If the program is successful, the cities of Snoqualmie and North Bend will share the costs of the position in subsequent years.
Washington State 5th District Rep. Lisa Callan was instrumental in securing funding and creating this behavioral health pilot program with input and support from Snoqualmie Police Chief Perry Phipps, Snoqualmie Mayor Katherine Ross, and North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland.
"For many years now, our region has been experiencing a behavioral health crisis – and Snoqualmie and North Bend are no different,” commented Mayor Ross. “This new position will provide our police officers and first responders the expert behavioral health support needed when responding to someone in crisis in the upper Snoqualmie Valley.”
Following the pilot year of the program, a report will be given to the Washington State Office of Financial Management and applicable State Legislative Committees detailing services provided with the grant funding and recommendations on how to implement effective, integrated and coordinated behavioral health emergency response and community care services.