The Washington State Department of Commerce has allocated $4.3m in grants for the expansion of behavioural healthcare access in crisis situations.

The funds will support the renovation of crisis stabilisation facilities in the Lewis and Pierce counties.

These facilities are intended to assist individuals experiencing mental health crises or requiring withdrawal management services, providing an alternative to emergency room hospitalisation or incarceration.

The grants are part of Governor Inslee’s five-year plan to modernise and transform the state’s mental health system, emphasising community-based treatment.

With this investment, the Behavioral Health Facilities programme has contributed over $475m to create nearly 3,000 beds and 50 outpatient facilities state-wide.

The latest grants include $2.45m for Trouvés Health Care Corporation in Pierce County to establish crisis stabilisation beds and observation recliners.

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Another $1.83m has been provided for the redesign and expansion of Cascade Community Healthcare’s Crisis Care treatment centre in Lewis County, expanding treatment capacity by 400%.

Further behavioural health funding of approximately $67m is expected to be available later in 2023-25.

The grants were awarded through a competitive process involving collaboration between Commerce, the Department of Health, the Department of Social and Health Services, and the State Health Care Authority.

It has been stipulated that the funds be maintained for their intended use for at least 15 years.

Cascade Community Healthcare CEO Richard Stride said: “This grant is an amazing opportunity to treat people with immediate behavioural health needs right when they need the help, and not wait until the crisis spirals out of control.

“We will be able to treat individuals in crisis in a setting that is centred around their needs, rather than sitting in a hospital emergency department.

“Having immediate wraparound services will also be a game changer for our hospital.”