The Mental Health Project is a Seattle Times initiative focused on covering mental and behavioral health issues. It is funded by Ballmer Group, a national organization focused on economic mobility for children and families. The Seattle Times maintains editorial control over work produced by this team.

It’s hard to find mental health care in Washington.

Throughout the past few months, hundreds of Seattle Times readers have shared how challenging it is trying to find a therapist or a bed at an inpatient treatment facility. Those struggles have been even more challenging for people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people who have Medicaid, Medicare or no insurance at all.

On Feb. 16, The Seattle Times invited mental health professionals working in the field to share tips and advice for how to navigate the system.

In the hour-long panel discussion, therapist Ash Choi and clinical social worker Gregory Whiting covered working with a primary health provider to get care; accessing treatment with limited insurance options; addressing stigma within your family and community; finding support through group therapy; and other topics.

You can watch the recording of the conversation in the video player and read further coverage of this issue below.

Access to mental health care

The Seattle Times’ Mental Health Project has been exploring issues of access to mental health care. A series of stories published in December took a deeper look at why it’s so hard to get help when you need it.

Why it’s so hard to find a therapist, and stories from readers

Naomi Ishisaka: Finding care shouldn’t be this hard

Guide: What to know when looking for therapy

How Washington’s approach to mental health has changed

Mapping mental health: Washington’s capacity for care

Guide: Tips for when you can’t find a therapist

The providers also shared resources with members of the audience. Some of those links are posted below.

General resources

  • What are Employee Assistance Programs? “Many employers often offer two to six therapy sessions paid for by the employer. Those therapists will sometimes have opportunities for people to get involved in therapy with them once the EAP sessions offered by the employer have been exhausted. I would recommend that people contact their HR department for information on how their organization’s EAP is structured,” Whiting said.
  • Therapeutic Health Services
  • Counseling departments in colleges and universities may offer therapy sessions
  • University of Washington Medicine offers the public an opportunity to participate in research studies
  • Harborview Medical Center offers Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Resources for people of color

Resources for young people

Domestic violence resources