King County hosted its annual Behavioral Health Legislative Forum on December 7th, 2021. Each year, the evening celebrates recovery from mental health and substance use challenges across our communities in King County. The forum is also a place to discuss how we can continue to improve our public behavioral health system.
This is the first year the event was hosted virtually. We were joined by nearly 400 community members as well as 21 state legislators, 2 county councilmembers and 1 councilmember elect. Thank you very much to everyone who joined and helped to make the evening a success.
The King County Department of Community and Human Services Director Leo Flor gave opening remarks, emphasizing the challenges our behavioral health system is facing and stressing the importance of investing in our behavioral health work force. King County Executive Dow Constantine highlighted some of the unprecedented circumstances of the past two years, as well as the incredible work of our local network of behavioral health providers. King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division (BHRD) Director Kelli Nomura outlined King County’s legislative priorities for 2022. Michael Byun, Executive Director of Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS), gave a provider perspective on the impacts the pandemic and racial and social injustices have had on the behavioral health of our communities.
Recovery Speakers Michael Robertson, Kimberly Rettig, Ubah Farah and Jared Henderson each shared their inspirational stories of hope and recovery. Their stories were the highlight of the evening, and each were a wonderful reminder that everyone is capable and deserving of recovery.
To view each of their incredible stories, click on their names above to go to the program recording time-stamped to their story.
We would like to thank our Behavioral Health Advisory Board Members, Washington Recovery Alliance/King County Recovery Coalition staff and others who assisted in selecting and preparing our Recovery Speakers for the event.
In Case You Missed It
The full recording of the 2021 behavioral health legislative forum program is available to watch on demand now.
The program recording is currently available only in English. Translations are being created and will be posted on King County’s YouTube channel as they are available.
Behavioral Health Legislative Priorities
BHRD Director Kelli Nomura announced King County’s legislative priorities for the 2022 legislative session. You can read the legislative priorities in full here.
1. Develop and sustain the essential behavioral health workforce.
2. Enhance community-based response to behavioral health crises.
3. Fund capital investments to expand and enhance access to care.
Community Conversations with Elected Officials and Legislator Roundtable
The forum facilitated direct engagement between constituents and their elected officials. A total of 21 state legislators, 2 county councilmembers and 1 councilmember elect attended. Nearly 400 community members participated in these conversations. Despite the unique challenges of hosting these conversations virtually, lawmakers were able to hear personal accounts from community members who have been served by our behavioral health system.
To conclude the forum, the legislators participated in a roundtable discussion about the state of behavioral health in Washington State, as well as their plans to address behavioral health needs during the upcoming 2022 legislative session. You can view the recording of the full legislative roundtable discussion online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATvgHZ13zqw
21 State Legislators in Attendance
Representative Shelley Kloba, 1st Legislative District
Representative Lisa Callan, 5th Legislative District
Representative Bill Ramos, 5th Legislative District
Senator Bob Hasegawa, 11th Legislative District
Representative Jamila Taylor, 30th Legislative District
Senator Claire Wilson, 30th Legislative District
Representative Lauren Davis, 32nd Legislative District
Representative Cindy Ryu, 32nd Legislative District
Representative Eileen Cody, 34th Legislative District
Senator Reuven Carlyle, 36th Legislative District
Representative Noel Frame, 36th Legislative District
Representative Carolyn Eslick, 39th Legislative District
Representative Tana Senn, 41st Legislative District
Representative My-Linh Thai, 41st Legislative District
Representative Nicole Macri, 43rd Legislative District
Representative Frank Chopp, 43rd Legislative District
Representative Larry Springer, 45th Legislative District
Representative Gerry Pollett, 46th Legislative District
Representative Javier Valdez, 46th Legislative District
Senator Mona Das, 47th Legislative District
Representative Debra Entenman, 47th Legislative District
3 King County Councilmembers in Attendance
Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, 4th Council District
Councilmember Claudia Balducci, 6th Council District
Councilmember-elect Sarah Perry, 3rd Council District
Published on December 20, 2021