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$38M Set of Gifts From Ballmer Group to Address Behavioral Health Crisis

The University of Washington on Friday announced that the School of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the Behavioral Health Institute at Harborview Medical Center are part of a transformational $38 million set of gifts from Ballmer Group to support a broad, collaborative response to the state’s behavioral health crisis.

The gifts aim to address the state of Washington’s serious workforce shortage in the community behavioral health system, in large part by supporting statewide education and training innovations at partner institutions developed through the University of Washington. The new grants come on the heels of Gov. Jay Inslee’s historic behavioral health bill signing Thursday which recognized the severity of the crisis and celebrated new investments.

Ballmer Group’s gifts will complement these investments through innovative and transformational approaches to growing and strengthening the state’s behavioral health workforce.

The UW School of Social Work will coordinate a major component of Ballmer Group’s investment, $24.8 million designed to expand the diversity and numbers of well-prepared, debt-relieved students graduating from the state’s master’s programs in social work and mental health counseling who go on to work in community-based behavioral health programs. These programs serve individuals and families who face poverty and severe, long-term mental health or substance-use challenges.

More than 400 graduate students from approximately 13 colleges and universities across the state will receive more than $21 million in financial assistance over the next five years, supporting a graduate-level clinical education that, for many, would not otherwise be financially feasible.

Participating graduate students will receive grants to offset the high costs of graduate education in return for committing to work for three years in the behavioral health system. Participating graduate schools will partner closely with  agencies to design clinical education tailored to meeting the needs of clients, strengthen student internships, and provide career placement and mentoring to support sustained careers in behavioral health services.

More than $3 million will be used over five years to create an innovative training program for Behavioral Health Support Specialists (BHHS) for undergraduate students in colleges around the state of Washington in partnership with the UW Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

The Behavioral Health Institute at Harborview Medical Center will receive $5.5 million over three years to establish statewide behavioral health apprenticeship programs for early and mid-career professionals in collaboration with community partners, including the King County Executive’s Office and The SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Multi-Employer Training Fund.

Nearly $3 million over two years is dedicated for the Behavioral Health Institute at Harborview Medical Center to support government leaders and community-partners on revisioning and redesigning Washington’s behavioral health crisis response system.

Beyond the financial commitments to the UW and students at colleges and universities around Washington, Ballmer Group is investing in other ways to build behavioral health capacity across the state.

  • The Washington Council for Behavioral Health will receive $1.1 million over four years from Ballmer Group to fund a pilot project to test new ways of providing clinical supervision in behavioral health agencies that serve predominantly low-income people and those experiencing a mental health crisis.
  • Another $400,000 over two years will go to the Washington State Health Care Authority to drive the uptake of behavioral health peers in the Medicaid and commercial systems.
  • And $500,000 over three years will be directed to the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship to match the state’s investment in a Graduate Scholarship in Advanced Health Care, initially targeting nurse practitioners.

Excerpted from “$38M set of gifts from Ballmer Group to address behavioral health crisis aims to bolster workforce, resources across Washington through UW-led programs” in the University of Washington News. Read the full release online.

Source: University of Washington | $38M set of gifts from Ballmer Group to address behavioral health crisis aims to bolster workforce, resources across Washington through UW-led programs, https://www.washington.edu/news/2021/05/14/38-million-set-of-gifts-from-ballmer-group-to-address-behavioral-health-crisis-aims-to-bolster-workforce-resources-across-washington-through-uw-led-programs | © 2021 University of Washington
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