Community Transitions partnership will connect residents with behavioral health services and additional supports through outreach and direct engagement
Edmonds, Wash. – Today Compass Health and the City of Edmonds announced the rollout of Community Transitions, a program designed to provide much-needed resources for at-risk individuals in the community, with opportunities to coordinate outreach across the South County region. Through a partnership with the Edmonds Parks, Recreation, Cultural & Human Services Department, Compass Health has embedded a trained mental health professional with city staff and law enforcement to jointly conduct outreach throughout the community.
“While Edmonds is thriving, our community still faces the rising need for mental health and support services. This is a time for action, and we’re proud to be taking a solutions-oriented approach with Compass Health and our new social worker,” said Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson. “This new program will enable our residents to have new access to a full range of behavioral health services.”
Community Transitions teams connect individuals with a spectrum of services, including mental health and substance use treatment, medical care, shelter assistance, food vouchers and more. The effort helps to reduce reliance on law enforcement, local emergency rooms and other emergency services, and to more sustainably manage health and safety needs through collaboration, outreach, and engagement.
“By meeting individuals where they’re at and connecting them with resources, our aim is to shift away from high-frequency use of emergency services and toward more appropriate, recovery-oriented pathways,” said Charissa Westergard, director of healthcare integration at Compass Health, which developed Community Transitions. “Together, we’re working to address needs in the community by offering flexible, holistic solutions to people facing mental health, substance use, or housing challenges.”
Edmonds city leaders approved funding for the program in 2021. Recently, Compass Health’s Community Transitions professional, Erin Nathan, began travelling throughout the Edmonds community with members of Edmonds Police Department to engage in outreach to at-risk individuals. Nathan brings more than 15 years of experience counseling adults with mental health needs, and helping to assist with house, employment, and other support.
Compass Health first implemented the Community Transitions model in Snohomish County in 2016, through a partnership with South County Fire and expanded to a second partnership with the Lynnwood Police Department and Mountlake Terrace Police Department in 2020, both of which were sponsored by a grant from the Verdant Health Commission. The organization is also establishing a new Community Transitions partnership with the Mukilteo Police Department, which expands the program to five area communities.
The program is one tool in the behavioral health provider’s range of community response services, which in Snohomish County, also includes crisis intervention and stabilization through the Snohomish County Triage Center, located in Everett.
“The Community Transitions program is one of the cornerstones of our spectrum of community response services at Compass Health,” Westergard said. “Our goal is to provide quality services that result in better outcomes and support a positive experience for clients; and because individuals are accessing the right types of services for their needs, we are able to use resources more effectively for more people.”
To learn more about Compass Health Community Transitions, please visit compasshealth.org/services/community-transitions/.