New Crisis Response Center in Kirkland to Serve North King County
Published on March 08, 2023
Communications Program Coordinator
The City of Kirkland, along with north King County partner cities of Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park and Shoreline, announces the siting of a new multi-service crisis response center dedicated to serving the behavioral health needs of community members across north and northeast King County. The new crisis center will be operated by Connections Health Solutions, a national innovator in behavioral health crisis care. The facility will be located at 11410 NE 122nd Way in Kirkland’s Totem Lake neighborhood, conveniently located near Evergreen Hospital and Highway 405. The crisis response center will be the first of its kind in King County to provide a spectrum of care services, from walk-in mental health urgent care to continued stabilization of behavioral health or substance use crises.
“The new Connections crisis response center adds a critical element in the continuum of behavioral health care for community members in Kirkland and throughout the region,” said City of Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet. “This new center complements the Regional Crisis Response Agency (RCR) announced in 2022, which will deploy Crisis Responders on some 911 calls for community members experiencing behavioral health crisis across the north county region. This announcement culminates a year-long effort by Kirkland and our north King County city partners to proactively address critical behavioral health needs in our communities.”
“The benefit to individuals in crisis, first responders, healthcare providers, and our community comes at a critical time, as the lasting impacts of the pandemic continue to be felt across our communities – and especially for those in need of life-saving behavioral health care,” said City of Shoreline Mayor Keith Scully.
“The arrival of Connections Health Solutions represents a critical step toward needed access to dedicated behavioral health crisis care resources in North King County,” said City of Kenmore Mayor Nigel Herbig. “A crisis does not only occur during business hours. In turn, our community must have additional resources when making an appointment or a waiting room does not suffice.”
“This center is an important part of a sustainable solution for a strengthened behavioral health community care continuum,” said City of Bothell Mayor Mason Thompson. “We look forward to continuing to work alongside our coalition cities and Connections to open this critical resource for our residents.”
“Connections has been serving communities for more than 30 years. Expertise and experience of that caliber matter in behavioral health crisis care and treatment,” said City of Lake Forest Park Mayor Jeff Johnson. “The positive impact of this center will be felt among families across the five North King County cities for generations to come.”
The “no wrong door” clinic will be open to everyone regardless of severity of need or insurance status, and care will be available 24/7 with no appointment required. Connections expects to open the new facility in Kirkland in 2024.
“We’re honored to partner with the cities of Bothell, Kenmore, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, and Shoreline to provide immediate access to care and to connect the North King County community to a local crisis response center where high-quality treatment occurs and hope is restored,” said Colin LeClair, Chief Executive Officer for Connections Health Solutions. “We look forward to the ongoing collaboration between the five cities and all partners as we bring immediate and accessible care to those in need.”
Connections’ effort to open the north King County facility is made possible, in part, by $21.52 million in financial support from grants from the State of Washington and King County.
“Crisis stabilization centers are an effective and important tool in our state’s efforts to address behavioral health issues and reform approaches to behavioral health care and public safety,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Our communities need a place where people in crisis can go to receive compassionate and focused behavioral health care. Programs like this that allow for first responder referrals decrease the use of jails and emergency rooms, which are not well-equipped to address these needs. I’m proud of the investments our state and our communities are making in these programs.”
“This partnership is going to be a model for the rest of the state, so we can fulfill the promise of our 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline to help everyone in Washington who struggles with a mental health crisis get the care they need,” said Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond), deputy majority leader of the Washington State Senate.
“Providing a 24/7 place for people in crisis to receive effective care helps make recovery possible as part of a connected behavioral health system that provides people with the care they need when they need it in their communities,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “King County invested $11.5 million of state and local dollars toward this crisis center in Kirkland, and it’s the start of what we can achieve together when it comes to community behavioral health.”
“For too long, we have relied on our police officers, jails and courts to substitute for a missing behavioral health care system,” said King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski. “It’s an unfair burden on them, and unfair to our community. That’s why King County is proud to partner with the five North County cities in my district who are leading the charge to stand up the essential behavioral health response system our community needs. This new facility builds on the work we have done in recent years to create the RADAR program, partnering with law enforcement to ensure an effective response to community health and safety needs. We will now have a community-based care center to support our front-line mental health professionals in delivering compassionate and effective care to those in crisis, and enhancing public health and safety. I thank and congratulate all involved in this powerful partnership, and look forward to seeing its positive impact in North King County.”
“We are grateful to have the opportunity to welcome a new crisis stabilization clinic right here in Kirkland. Like many communities across the state and country, the Eastside is certainly in need of greater access to behavioral health care, specialists, and on-going resources – especially for those in crisis. We look forward to working with Connections Health Solutions to even better support the health and wellness of our patients and everyone we serve as a community-owned hospital,” said EvergreenHealth Chief Executive Officer Jeff Tomlin, MD.
“Crisis response centers like this fill a critical gap in our region’s mental health support spectrum of care,” said NAMI Eastside Board President Donna Lurie. “The opening of this new facility will greatly improve the quality of life for those affected by mental illness, their families, and our entire community. NAMI Eastside looks forward to collaborating with Connections on meeting the needs of our community members experiencing behavioral health crisis in northeast King County.”
Together with the national 988 Crisis Lifeline and the RCR Agency, the new crisis response center fills a void of coordinated behavioral health care in King County by providing community members in crisis with three important resources: someone to call, someone to respond and somewhere to go.
The RCR Agency was formed in collaboration by the partner cities of Bothell, Kenmore, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, and Shoreline to provide consolidated and standardized regional mobile crisis response services for the five-city region.
Learn more about the new crisis response center.
Find out more about the Regional Crisis Response Agency.
Photos courtesy of Chris Neir