Earlier this decade, Washington state had the third-highest rate in the nation of adults with a mental illness, and the second-highest rate for those whose illness interfered with major life activities. At the same time, a government survey ranked Washington’s inpatient psychiatric bed capacity almost last in the nation.
If you or someone you know needs support for mental health, here’s where to find help. Click on a link here to jump to a topic:
In a crisis? Here’s where to call if a person feels unsafe or is concerned about the safety of someone else.
Need support? These organizations provide assistance and advice.
Worried about someone you know? Here are signs to watch for.
In a crisis?
Crisis Connections: covers King County and surrounding areas; five programs focused on serving the emotional and physical needs of people across Washington state
- Call 206-461-3222, or 866-4CRISIS
- Programs include the 24-Hour Crisis Line, King County 2-1-1, Teen Link, WA Recovery Help Line and WA Warm Line
Washington 211: free referral and informational help line that connects people to health and human services, available 24/7
Washington Recovery Helpline: 24-hour crisis-intervention and referral assistance for substance abuse, mental health and gambling
- Call 866-789-1511
Volunteers of America/Crisis Response Services (Everett): 24-hour emotional support to people in crisis and/or considering suicide
- Call 800-584-3578 or chat online
Crisis Clinic of the Peninsulas (Bremerton): over-the-phone crisis intervention, information referral and a supportive listening ear to people in our community who are experiencing situational distress
- Call 360-479-3033
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: This national network of local crisis centers provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Call 800-273-TALK or chat online
Crisis Text Line: free, 24/7 support for those in crisis
- Text 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor
Veterans Crisis Line: a free, confidential resource that’s available to anyone, even if you’re not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care
- Call 800-273-8255 press 1, text 838255, or chat online
- Behavioral health ombuds: 206-477-0630
- For individuals who receive publicly funded behavioral-health services and are concerned that their rights have been violated or they are not receiving adequate services
- Helps people through problems, grievances, hearings and appeals
- Works to obtain resolutions that meet a person’s needs as simply as possible
- Is independent of King County Behavioral Health
- You may receive Ombuds services that are confidential, free of charge and protect you from retaliation of any kind.
National Alliance on Mental Illness, Washington chapter: provides educational resources and events, statewide outreach, advocacy and affiliate organizational support. NAMI Washington provides the free training that allow NAMI affiliates to provide NAMI programs, advocacy, education, support and recovery
Washington state regional behavioral health organizations: list organized by county
National Alliance on Mental Illness: The nation’s largest grassroots mental-health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency that leads public-health efforts to advance behavioral health
National Institute of Mental Health: The lead federal agency for research on mental disorders (part of the National Institutes of Health)
Mental Health America: Nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans
Worried about someone you know?
How to know if someone needs behavioral-health crisis services
Family and close friends are often the first to notice behaviors that identify the need for professional help.
Early warning signs may include:
- changes in sleep patterns — waking up many times during the night, sleeping a lot during the day or getting hardly any sleep at all.
- being socially withdrawn from others — stops seeing friends or loses interest in his/her appearance.
- inability to function at work or in school — missing days from work/school or losing their job.
- talking about things that don’t make sense — laughing or mumbling to themselves. Speech may be very fast and/or the person seems to jump from one subject to another.
- unusual beliefs — thinking that others are after them or plotting against them, or that their mind is being controlled by an outside force or that someone is putting thoughts into their mind.
It is common for people to express fear and pain through anger and suspicion toward those closest to them. The family must focus on their feelings rather than on angry behavior, as the person might respond to loved ones’ suggestions to get professional help.
If someone refuses to get help, call the King County Crisis Clinic at 206-263-9200.
- A trained Crisis Clinic volunteer worker will gather information about the behavior and assess what the appropriate next step is. This is the main phone center for crisis services in King County, including for children.
Common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents (from NAMI):
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Difficulty understanding or relating to other people
- Changes in sleep or feeling tired and low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
- Changes in sex drive
- Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
- Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (“lack of insight” or anosognosia)
- Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
- Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
- Thinking about suicide
- Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
- An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance
What to do if you notice symptoms (from NAMI):
Schedule an appointment with a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist as soon as you can. If that is not possible, see your pediatrician or primary-care physician. Provide as much detailed information as you can:
- Past mental-health evaluations and other medical records
- Descriptions of symptoms, when they began and whether they have changed over time
- Any medications or medical treatments your child is receiving
- Anything else that is requested or that you think might be valuable information
If a doctor, psychologist or counselor does not provide a diagnosis or referral to another professional, you should ask why and consider their reasoning. If you disagree, trust your instincts and seek a second opinion. It is often better to be cautious than to ignore a potentially serious problem.
If your child reports seeing or hearing things that are not there, seek medical treatment immediately. Episodes of psychosis might also include: spontaneous violent behavior, denial of reality, paranoia, removal of clothing, reckless behavior or claims of special powers.