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Informational Alert
Two children standing with their arms around each other

Child health always includes mental health.

Generation REACH: Transforming Mental Health Care for All Youth and Families

Locally and nationally, we are experiencing a youth mental health crisis. Youth suicide rates were rising before the pandemic, and COVID-19 has had a significant impact on youth.

Nationally, 1 out of every 5 kids has a mental health disorder that significantly affects their life, and currently only about half of those kids get treatment.

Seattle Children’s has made a long-term commitment to mental and behavioral health as an inextricable part of child health. This organizational commitment combines generous philanthropic support with a multiyear commitment through our strategic plan.

Seattle Children’s is convening a coalition to reimagine pediatric mental health care so that all children, teens and families can live their healthiest and most fulfilling lives possible.

This means every child would have access to the support and resources they need to succeed and to be happy, safe and well within their family, school and community.

Now is the time for a once-in-a-generation collaboration to transform the behavioral health paradigm. Youth mental health is a growing crisis that has been further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic turmoil. And for too long Black, Indigenous and People of Color have been underserved by the mental health system and under-represented among mental healthcare providers.

The intent is to involve youth, families and a broad coalition of community partners who represent the communities we serve.

Together, we will meet the need for timely, effective crisis intervention and care for families whose children have serious mental health challenges. To reduce future crises and to support mental wellness, we will move to include preventive and strengths-based approaches and away from a singular focus on problem-based models of care. We will build upon positive attributes and skills that support social and emotional well-being for all youth and their families. We will join forces with the many others who are working to eliminate youth suicide.

Generation REACH Has Five Areas of Focus

Children and adult playing with toy

Research and Innovation

  • Innovate new, strengths-based models of care that go beyond addressing vulnerabilities and cultivate children’s and teens’ social and emotional intelligence and abilities.
  • Accelerate the pace of progress by infusing research into everything Seattle Children’s does — leveraging clinical and policy research to develop new and more effective ways to identify root causes and prevent and treat mental health problems.
  • Unlock the mysteries of the developing brain and understand the impact of genetics, nutrition, social interaction, traumatic experiences and nurturing.

Progress: During the pandemic we made quick, innovative pivots to offer mental health treatment via telehealth. We’re continuing to develop stepped models of care to increase access to treatment equitably.

Smiling group of children on mat

Ecosystem and Equity

  • Connect families to care when and where they need it, in ways that are linguistically and culturally appropriate to each child and family. Develop services and capabilities in the geographic areas of highest need.
  • Integrate mental health into primary care practices in our network and embed mental health providers throughout our system so that regardless of where in the Seattle Children’s system they are seen and what they are seen for, children and teens are cared for by someone who understands behavioral health.
  • Create capacity in the community through training and consultation.
  • Focus on “upstream” interventions that promote thriving and reduce the need for higher-intensity mental health services.
  • Ensure seamless transitions between different services and different levels of care, with a special focus on preventing readmission to inpatient care.
  • Recruit, develop and support a diverse workforce at Seattle Children’s that reflects the communities we serve.

Progress: We’ve integrated behavioral health into multiple primary care practices through the Seattle Children’s Care Network, and launched mental health services at our North Clinic in Everett, Washington. Our new Child and Adolescent Latino Mental Health Assessment and Treatment Clinic (CALMA), provides culturally responsive mental health care in Spanish and English.

    Telemental health patient and provider


    • Meet the need for crisis intervention with innovative models that connect families with timely, stabilizing mental health services and appropriate follow-up care.
    • Collaborate with our community partners to develop and test innovative delivery and technology systems that promote equitable access to a full continuum of services.

    Progress: We’ve expanded our continuum of care for youth with eating disorders, and launched crisis care clinics specifically for youth experiencing suicidality or aggression.

    Patient, provider and father


    • Create a behavioral health innovation hub to bring together mental and brain health experts from across Seattle Children’s to facilitate clinical collaboration and accelerate research, including ongoing work to illuminate root causes of mental and behavioral health conditions.

    Progress: The Autism Center and outpatient Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine services will move to a newly remodeled, combined location by the end of 2022. The space is intentionally designed for youth with autism and/or behavioral health needs, and was made possible by the generous support of our community, particularly the Sunderland Foundation and the Norcliffe Foundation.

    Child and parent hugging

    Healthy Families and Communities

    • Ensure parents, siblings and community members understand and support a child’s journey toward mental wellness. Every person’s mental health is influenced by their family and community.
    • Partner with organizations and individuals in the communities we serve to provide services that promote social and emotional well-being and resources that help children and their families thrive.
    • Reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems.
    • Commit to long-term outcomes. Connect to families for as long as they need us and develop technology and tools to measure outcomes longitudinally and across domains.

    Progress: We’ve launched free, video-based community classes to help families navigate the mental health care system in Washington state.

    Join the Generation REACH Coalition

    Help reduce stigma

    You can be a change agent for youth mental health. Here are some ways you can help reduce stigma associated with mental health and mental health care:

    • Learn about mental health and educate others. Get the facts about signs and symptoms, and share with your family and friends.
    • Treat mental health and physical health equally. Cultivate habits to support mental as well as physical health. Speak about seeing a therapist the same way you would talk about seeing a pediatrician or a dentist.
    • Share your story and listen with compassion when others share theirs. Sharing mental health challenges promotes understanding and empathy.

    Donate to support mental health care

    Generous support from our community is essential to build new programs, expand existing ones and accelerate research into root causes that will benefit kids in our region and beyond. Together, we can change the paradigm of mental health care to reduce future crises and support mental wellness.

    Current healthcare payment models reward procedures and interventions; it’s much harder to get reimbursed by insurance for problems we prevent. The support of our community is essential to build new programs, expand existing ones and accelerate research into root causes that will benefit kids in our region and beyond.

    That’s why the generosity of donors like the Sunderland Foundation, the Norcliffe Foundation, the Anu and Satya Nadella family and the Seattle Children’s Guild Association is enabling us to begin the work of transforming youth mental health care for all children and families. Join us.

    Donate now

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