The primary goals of Mental Health Matters of Washington are to promote mental health and to improve early intervention for those struggling with their mental health through tailored health education, community engagement, resource and care 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 Verdant Health and the University of Washington Bothell. It uses an evidence-based, theoretical, and culturally tailored approach 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. The 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.
- 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 14+ 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!
Mental Health Matters WA Stories…
October 10th is World Mental Health Day! Stigma and discrimination continue to be barriers to social inclusion and access to the right care. We can all play a part in decreasing stigma about mental health and connecting people to information and resources they need to thrive. This is the primary goal of Mental Health Matters …
Do you want to learn more about mental health and help your community? We offer free, online and live training sessions (5 sessions) on topics such as: the importance of mental health to overall health; cultural perceptions and stigma relating to mental health; fundamentals of mental health; common diagnoses; socio-ecological and structural factors that impact …
“Everything is medicine for us. Our family, our community, how we work together is medicine because it keeps us healthy. Without these things, we stop being who we are. We stop being strong as family and as community.” –Community Health Board Coalition (CHBC) and Latinx Health Board (LxHB) of Washington To promote mental health in …
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