Since 1977, the Washington Community Mental Health Council (WCMHC) was the statewide professional association for licensed community mental health agencies across Washington. After a lengthy strategic planning process, we are excited to share with everyone our new name—Washington Council for Behavioral Health!
Last year, during the Washington Council’s October 2014 retreat, our Board of Directors had a candid discussion about the organization’s future. With the state’s Healthier Washington initiative underway and the current implementation of Governor Jay Inslee’s behavioral health integration bill, the Board decided that it was time for us to expand our identity and become Washington State’s behavioral health association.
Despite our long history as a mental health organization, there were several drivers that guided the decision to expand our scope to include substance use disorders (SUD):
- Most of our members are already dually licensed and actively providing both mental health and SUD services, so our name should support this aspect of our members’ mission and operations.
- There is a high volume of people with co-occurring disorders in the community mental health and overall Medicaid population.
- There has been a shift in state policy framework and system design with the creation of behavioral health organizations and integration.
- A unified behavioral health voice is needed as our state moves toward “full integration.”
Becoming a state behavioral health association, however, is more than just a name change. The Washington Council’s policy focus will now include SUD and co-occurring service issues, and we will incorporate SUD into our educational, technical assistance, and practice improvement activities. With this new identity, we aim to become a leader for healthcare integration as well as help strengthen the voice for the behavioral health community. Please stay tuned for our 2016 legislative priorities!
If you have any questions about the Washington Council for Behavioral Health, please contact our CEO, Ann Christian at email@example.com.