On March 1st, Gov. Jay Inslee convened the Mayors and City Managers of the Five RADAR Cities, as well as RADAR Program Manager and NUHSA Board Member Brook Buettner and key staff from the King County Dept. of Behavioral Health and Recovery, to learn more about local efforts to site a Crisis Triage facility in North King County.
Bothell Mayor Mason Thompson noted, "We believe we’re on the cusp of something special. The combination of what RADAR and its mental health professional navigators do are unique in the world of mental health response." He added, "RADAR is ripe to be copied. Partnership with multiple jurisdictions keeps costs low, and we all know this problem doesn’t care about city borders...We want to take what’s already here, already working well, and leverage it to have even more impact."
To do so, however, more is needed to address crisis care. Only 12 crisis beds exist in all of King County (with the closest to NKC in Kent), often leaving RADAR navigators with only two options - placement of clients in the hospital or jail.
Well-known community responders such as Cahoots in Eugene and STAR in Denver operate out of mental health institutions where there is more of an opportunity to not just deescalate, but address problems beyond the symptoms.
Mayor Thompson added that a state-level training/employee pipeline (similar to the police corps) would be helpful, along with a system for sharing Navigator response plans statewide (i.e. uploading response plans to WSCIC).
Implementation of RADAR with these 3 additional pieces would not only strengthen the program locally, but also make it easier to replicate throughout Washington and serve as a model nationally.
Learn more and read Mayor Thompson's remarks here and here.