Mental Health Matters of Washington
“The primary goal of Mental Health Matters of Washington is to promote mental health through
tailored health education, community engagement, resource navigation, and social support.”
Mental health is the foundation for our well-being and overall health. As the saying goes, “There is no health without mental health.” It is intertwined with so many other dimensions of our lives, including the physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, and economic. Mental Health Matters (MHM) of Washington State is a community-based, grant funded program sponsored by Skagit Public Health, North Sound Accountable Communities of Health, and the University of Washington Bothell. Our program is evidence-based and applies culturally informed strategies to mobilize and to train Peer Mental Health Navigators (PMHNs) to promote mental health within their communities by connecting individuals, families, and caregivers to the resources, expertise, and care they need to thrive.
Our program applies a strengths-based approach and prioritizes groups and communities most impacted by behavioral health disparities largely caused by systemic factors such as unequal distribution of power, historical trauma, poverty, violence, racism, and discrimination. We are striving to change the narrative about mental health, to reduce stigma about help-seeking, and to promote strategies and resources that help improve mental health for all.
- Increase public awareness and reduce stigma about mental health and illness through tailored peer health promotion and community engagement.
- Improve early intervention for those experiencing symptoms of mental illness.
- Reduce county rates of hospitalization due to mental illness and deaths from suicide.
- Help people, especially those from marginalized groups and communities of color, connect to tailored mental health resources and BIPOC mental health providers.
Our program uses four main strategies to enhance mental health and to improve early intervention:
Tailored Health Education
Education is at the heart of what we do. MHM improves people’s knowledge about mental health and well-being and works to reduce stigma and barriers to care.
Peer Mental Health Navigator (PMHN) training: We offer a six-week training and certificate program for individuals 13+ years to become community Peer Mental Health Navigators (PMHNs). PMHNs are volunteers that promote mental health within their communities and social networks. No previous experience or training is required to enroll. The training is in English or Spanish and uses a primarily online format with a weekly live, Zoom meeting facilitated by a licensed mental health practitioners and members of the MHM team. At the end of the training, participants who complete the full, six-week program and requirements are eligible to receive a modest stipend of $150.
This five-part series includes topics such as:
- the fundamentals of mental health;
- factors and strategies that influence mental health and well-being;
- how to help someone experiencing mental illness;
- how to advocate for yourself;
- suicide prevention;
- acting in the role of a peer mental health navigator;
- where to find mental health resources, services, and providers.
MHM hosts events throughout the year to engage communities in a variety of ways in order to raise awareness about mental health, to reduce stigma about help-seeking, and to increase social connectedness. These events use tailored and arts-based strategies and a community care approach. We often partner with other community organizations within the county to plan and host coordinate events.
Licensed mental health practitioners and experts facilitate public round-tables (virtual and on site) on topics posed by communities across the region.
Peer Mental Health Navigators connect people to the information, resources, and care they need to thrive.
Learn more about our program!
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