Deisy Haid, assistant professor of social work, has been working alongside Alayna Britton, social worker and CEO of Anchor Point Counseling, and Melissa Adams, social worker for Providence Population Health, to open a nonprofit, walk-in mental health clinic for the local Walla Walla community.
The clinic, Blue Mountain Health Cooperative, will open this month at the Providence Southgate Medical Park campus on Second Avenue in Walla Walla. The two-fold purpose of the program is to satisfy a need for free, immediate mental health services in the area and to provide field experience for WWU social work students, both at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
While the community already has some mental health services available, there was no facility available for people who aren’t in an emergency situation but who still need prompt care. BMHC will function on a first-come first-served basis for any patient age 13 and above and will charge according to what people can afford. For patients without insurance, there will be no charge for services.
While BMHC is not organized as a long-term mental health facility, the goal of the clinic is to connect patients with providers who can satisfy long-term needs. When a patient comes to BMHC, a WWU social work master’s degree student will provide them with a clinical assessment while an undergraduate student will help them find a long-term mental health provider. This will all take place under the supervision of a licensed expert.
Britton and Adams have been working on this project since early 2020, and asked Haid to join the team to work as a board member and consultant for the project. “It was perfect timing when they reached out to me because this has always been the goal,” said Haid who was actively looking for opportunities for students to fulfill practicum requirements at a time when COVID-19 protocols have reduced options. In the future the team hopes to turn these practicum opportunities into paid positions.
This year five WWU students will work at BMHC, but the goal is to expand in the near future to allow more WWU students as well as students from Walla Walla Community College and other schools to obtain practical experience while also providing a much needed service for the community.
To learn more about the WWU School of Social Work and Sociology visit wallawalla.edu/socialwork.
Posted Feb. 9, 2021