Funding Hope for Mental Health: $5 Million to Address a Critical Need
“Seattle Children’s is putting staff, finances and resources behind how we can provide the best mental health care in innovative and thought-provoking ways. That is something guild members can be enormously proud of.”
– Darcy Hollie, licensed mental health counselor and founding member of the We Believe Guild
Tackling the problem from many angles
2020 marks the 25th year that the Guild Association has directed a portion of its annual fundraising toward priority research and hospital funding needs selected by the Guild Association Board of Trustees. This program, called Funding Hope, enables guild members to meet the emerging needs of patients and offer hope where it’s needed most. This year, the Guild Association committed to provide $5 million over the next two years to support Seattle Children’s work to improve youth mental health.
Darcy Hollie has front-line knowledge of an escalating care crisis as a licensed mental health counselor serving adolescents and adults.
“Every adolescent I see in my practice has some level of anxiety or depression. It is rampant throughout the population and we have never seen these levels of anxiety,” says Hollie, a Seattle Children’s Guild Association board trustee and founding member of the We Believe Guild. “Untreated mental illness can result in a lifetime of struggle, missed opportunities and even lives lost. The need is critical, and we must shift the current state of care from crisis response to prevention, stability and resilience.”
When the Guild Association board expressed interest in supporting mental health within the neurosciences pillar of the It Starts with Yes campaign, Hollie was eager to join forces with Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Guild founder Erin Cordry to find the right funding opportunity. The two spent months working with hospital leaders and mental health experts to craft a dynamic, comprehensive plan for the funds, and it was unanimously approved by the Guild Association board in January.
The $5 million donation is already transforming care, allowing Seattle Children’s to launch critical services that address the mental and behavioral health crisis facing our communities. These include programs to help families navigate their child’s mental health challenges, identify mental illness early in a child’s life and begin stage-appropriate interventions.
“We are investing in more ways to meet the mental health needs of our children, approaching it from many different angles,” Hollie says. “This is a big step towards a much-needed shift to treat mental health issues like we do other health issues like diabetes and cancer – with care and support and grace.”
Funding Hope catalyzes Seattle Children’s efforts to improve youth mental and behavioral health care in our region by supporting seven priority areas:
- Integrated mental health care
- Intensive outpatient programs
- Family navigation and scheduling for those in crisis
- Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit (PBMU) care team
- Embedded mental health and psychosocial support in Oncology
- Expanded collaboration with Adolescent Medicine
- Stepped anxiety program that evaluates the level of care needed and assigns a care program based on the patient’s needs
“Guild generosity has proven even more essential in the time of COVID-19 and we are moving ahead with Funding Hope priorities,” says Dr. Larry Wissow, Seattle Children’s director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine. “We have started work around integrated care and are evaluating virtual options. Plans for the North Clinic are moving ahead, and the inpatient discharge care team is proving to be a key part of our COVID-19 response. I want to thank guild members for helping us to be nimble and act quickly on these goals.”
“This pledge of support is truly transformative – something we are not seeing anywhere else in the country on this scale,” Hollie says. “Seattle Children’s is putting staff, finances and resources behind how we can provide the best mental health care in innovative and thought-provoking ways. That is something guild members can be enormously proud of.”