Health department is studying mental health services

By on Monday, October 11th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

WALLA WALLA – The Walla Walla County Department of Community Health is partnering with the Human Services Research Institute, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to assess the county’s behavioral health system. The information gathered by this study will be put into a final report and include actionable recommendations to set a course for system planning and ongoing improvement.

Understanding the concerns of the community is a priority. HSRI will host a virtual community listening session via Zoom on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. To RSVP, email HSRI Project Coordinator Danielle Rayel at

“As a leader navigating the COVID pandemic while also evaluating our community behavioral health system, it became clear we needed a solid plan to stabilize and enhance our behavioral health resources and delivery,” DCH Administrative Director Nancy Wenzel said.

In the coming months, HSRI will be conducting in-depth interviews with a wide range of people who are involved with the system, including people who use services, their loved ones, service providers, and other experts in the health and social service sectors. HSRI will also analyze behavioral health service use, expenses, and outcome data.

“With support from our Board of County Commissioners, we will use the study to make better use of the public funds to promote behavioral health for all; the project will function as a GPS for system transformation efforts in the coming years, so stakeholders can work collaboratively toward shared goals for a more accessible, equitable, and effective system,” Wenzel said.

HSRI, who is conducting the assessment, has worked with state and county behavioral health systems across the country to understand and improve their services.