Commerce Releases New Behavioral Health Model Ordinance and Communications Toolkit

The Department of Commerce, in collaboration with BERK Consulting, finalized a behavioral health model ordinance and communications toolkit, both of which are now available on the project webpage. The model ordinance was designed as a resource to provide guidance, definitions, and code language to facilitate siting community-based behavioral health facilities in jurisdictions where it may be difficult to site using existing processes and/or code language. Adoption of the model ordinance is voluntary since there are other paths to site behavioral health facilities, which some jurisdictions have in place while others are using the Essential Public Facilities (EPF) process. Local governments are encouraged to utilize the relevant components of the model ordinance.

The communications toolkit is designed for both local governments and behavioral health service organizations. Its purpose is to provide strategies for communicating about the effectiveness of these residential treatment facilities to the public. We encourage you to review this webpage that summarizes the content of the communications toolkit.

Statewide Effort to Provide More Community-Based Treatment Options

Washington State is in the middle of a transformative shift in its behavioral healthcare system, and part of that shift is providing more community-based treatment options for individuals. These options serve as an alternative to larger institutional settings, such as Western and Eastern State Hospitals.

The Department of Commerce Behavioral Health Facilities Program has received funding for the development of new community-based treatment facilities. This model ordinance and communications toolkit were designed to help these newly-awarded projects get sited and begin construction to expand much-needed community-based treatment options.