Mental Health Institute for Washington State Providers

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The purpose of the Mental Health Institute is to train and expand the behavioral health knowledge base of the workforce to increase equity and inclusion for underserved populations in Washington state. 

Specifically, the Institute is designed to provide training and support to professionals working in Washington State who serve: 

  • Older Adults (Spring 2023)
  • Children, youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and behavioral health needs (Fall 2022)
  • Underserved (e.g., racial/ethnic/gender/sexual minority) populations (Fall 2022)
  • Individuals managing co-occurring disorders (Fall 2022)


Each training track will provide multiple sessions of live video workshops focused on a specific topic area related to the track. The sessions will use interactive teaching strategies like breakout rooms, role plays, audiovisuals, etc., to foster an environment of a collaborative learning community. Lived experiences from impacted communities will be highlighted throughout the workshops as a pedagogical strategy. Considerations around diversity, equity, and inclusion and social determinants of health will be addressed in each track.   

You are not required to attend every session within a particular track, and you may register for sessions within any track.   

SPACE IS LIMITED: these will be interactive sessions on camera, and some will include breakout sessions.  


This event is specifically for people who work in Washington State. 

Contact Hours (CEs)

Contact hours (CEs) will be available on a per-session basis; participants must attend the entire session. The University of Washington is an approved provider of continuing education for DOH licensed social workers, licensed mental health counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, psychologists, chemical dependency professionals, nurses and physicians under the provisions of: WAC 246-809-610, WAC 246-809-620,WAC 246-811-200, WAC 246-840-210, WAC 246-919-460 and WAC 246-924-240.

Continuing Medical Education Credits 

The University of Washington School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The University of Washington School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 96 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


WA INCLUDE Collaborative, Center on Human Development & Disability; SPIRIT Lab (Supporting Psychosis Innovation through Research, Implementation, & Training), University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Washington State Health Care Authority; and the Northwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center.

If you have any questions please contact us at [email protected] 


Co-occurring Disorders sessions offered October 3-December 5, 2022

Close to half of adult individuals diagnosed with a severe mental illness will also have a substance abuse disorder. Drugs of abuse affect a disproportionate amount of people receiving community mental health services, yet many services for mental health and substance use problems remain separated.  Best practice guidelines indicate that these services are integrated for best outcomes.  

  • Increase knowledge of the connection between mental health and substance use, and their collective impact from a biopsychosocial perspective.   

  • Learn how to formulate presenting concerns from an integrative perspective and choose from a menu of treatment strategies as appropriate. 

  • Understand how to apply principles of social justice by learning about how substance use is related to structural factors and hearing from persons with lived experience of responding to co-occurring disorders.  

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) sessions offered October 7, 2022-February 10, 2023

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) show higher rates of mental health concerns than the general population. However, they have been historically underserved by behavioral health agencies. One reason they are commonly turned away from mental health services is because clinicians express a lack of knowledge and confidence to work with this population.   Training activities offered in this track will focus on adaptation of commonly used therapeutic strategies to be utilized with clients with IDD and co-occurring mental health concerns.  Training will focus on increasing skills and knowledge that providers can immediately use with their clients and share with their colleagues to better serve this population. 

  • Increase knowledge and skills in treating co-occurring mental health conditions among individuals with IDD, to increase clinicians' confidence in serving this population. 

  • Apply adaptations of commonly used therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for individuals with IDD to aid them in processing information and behavioral strategies. 

  • Include voices of those with lived experience to improve care for historically underserved communities, highlighting the value and importance of serving this population. 

Social Justice & Inclusion sessions offered October 20-December 15, 2022

People from racial and ethnic minorities have less access to mental health care, and the available care is frequently of poorer quality than that available to the white population. This track is focused on educational activities aimed at addressing these disparities and inequities in access to mental health care.  Training activities will create a space to generate and learn ideas and practices that can support participants in providing culturally and structurally responsive care, and move toward more collaborative, relationally oriented, and just therapeutic relationships. 

  • Increase knowledge of how context, power relations, and structural factors contribute to the development of mental health concerns, community disruption, and distress. 
  • Develop the ability to formulate collaborative interventions that contribute to resilience and agency, build on individual and community strengths, and support a movement away from pathologizing narratives about the people who consult us. 

  • Provide culturally responsive interventions and ideas they can adapt to fit the needs of the people who consult them, therefore improving care for historically underserved communities.

Older Adults sessions offered March 20-July 12, 2023

The Institute of Medicine reported in 2012 that as many as 8 million people aged 60 and over had at least one mental or substance abuse condition and projected that number to rise to 14 million by 2030. COVID-19 highlighted an increase in rates of anxiety and depression amongst older adults, exacerbated by the lack of access to mental health providers knowledgeable about mental health needs, services, and  treatments for older adults. This training institute seeks to prepare the mental health workforce to address the unique needs of older adults. 

  • Increase knowledge and skills in treating mental health conditions in older adults, as well as provider capacity and confidence in serving this population.
  • Provide high quality training in common elements of evidence-based practices found to be effective in meeting the mental health needs of older adults, and provide supported skill acquisition in specific interventions, including Problem Solving Treatment, PEARLS, and Behavioral Activation.
  • Include voices of lived experience from individuals experiencing mental health conditions in late life and peers providing evidence-based support to older adults, with amplification of voices from historically underserved communities.


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