Individuals and families living with mental health and addiction problems in Washington have the ability to thrive in supportive communities. As such, we strive to address in our work the countless barriers faced by marginalized populations in access to treatment, thus contributing to disproportionately worse health outcomes.
To create an inclusive forum for stakeholders around the state to develop, share, and advance new and promising ideas, opportunities and collaborations that will advance effective education, prevention, and care for Washingtonians living with mental health and addiction problems.
The Washington State Mental Health Summit Advisory Council is a dedicated group of people passionate about improving mental health care in our state. Learn more
January 21, 2016 was marked by the death of Chad Crooks by suicide at the age of 21. With that loss, Chad's parents, Todd and Laura Crooks, became determined to work with partners to build a path to better mental health care in Washington State and Chad's Legacy Project was created soon after. In talking with many people in numerous organizations, they realized there was no shortage of brilliant work with the best of intentions. Most work, however, was siloed and fragmented, creating obstacles to broader implementation.
Chad's Legacy Project quickly cultivated leadership partners in governmental, educational, provider, payer and mental health advocacy arenas. A vision was born to bring key stakeholders from across Washington State to the table to work together in improving access to effective mental health care and awareness. In close partnership with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington, the Washington State Mental Health Summit was created. At the first summit in 2017, over 100 key leaders were invited to create a preliminary list of actionable initiatives that could transform the landscape of awareness and care. Ten bold initiatives were developed.
The transformative, action-based work that was started at the first summit in 2017 continued with the second summit on May 8, 2018 when 500 stakeholders convened at the first open-invitation event. These events were followed by the third event on October 29th, 2019 where 600 stakeholders in the Mental Health community attended and helped move more innovation into the light. Many of those initiatives are completed, with efforts continuing toward final implementation on others. Through this continuing work, Washington State will create a new landscape and emerge as a national leader in mental health care. The work started and presented at the summit is open to all who are interested in participating in the creation of a model for the rest of the nation to follow.
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Photo by Melissa Fenno Photography