LYNNWOOD, Wash. – Compass Health and the Lynnwood
Police Department announced a partnership, August 5, to embed a mental
health professional with the Lynnwood Police Department Community Health and
Safety Section to better manage the health and safety needs of individuals and
is a great opportunity to engage in folks better than we otherwise may have
engaged with them…we’re hoping this
helps reduce the amount of law enforcement contact that folks have and get them
the right resources at the right time,” Charissa Westergard, Director of
Healthcare Integration at Compass Health told the Lynnwood Times.
Compass Health is a community-based healthcare agency which
integrates behavioral health and medical care services to form a key section of
the community safety net and serve clients and others in need of care and
support. The non-profit organization serves people of all ages throughout
Snohomish, Skagit, Island, San Juan, and Whatcom counties.
The organization first implemented the Community Transitions
model in partnership with South County Fire in Snohomish County in 2016,
providing a range of community response services, which includes crisis
outreach through Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams (MCOT), the new Integrated Model
of Police and Crisis Teams (IMPACT) program, and ongoing care coordination and
non-emergency services such as the Community Outreach and Recovery Support
This new partnership, funded by a grant from the Verdant Health
Commission, aims to reduce high-frequency use of emergency services
by responding to community members at risk in Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.
With thanks to this grant, many people in need will have access to mental
health, substance use treatments, shelter assistance, food vouchers, hygiene
sites and more.
think the real benefit of embedding with law enforcement is, they have the
initial contact often, but what the individual needs is often what law
enforcement is not able to provide,” Westergard told the Lynnwood Times. “We really want to
foster a continuity of care,”
The Verdant Health Commission funds a wide range of programs that
empower people in South Snohomish County to make healthy decisions and get the
care they need to stay well. Their current focus is investing in innovative
programs that will make a lasting impact on the health and well-being of South
Snohomish County residents, having issued $8.2 million in grants last year. In
addition to their fiscal support, they offer free or low-cost education and
prevention classes both virtually and in-person at the Verdant Community
Wellness Center in Lynnwood.
Heather Turner, embedded Compass Health mental health
professional, will begin riding along with LPD’s community health
and safety officers to meet with individuals throughout Lynnwood and Mountlake
Terrace. According to Turner, many people call 911 because they have needs that
are not being met but they don’t know where else to turn. This new
program would allow them to get the appropriate resources at the appropriate
“I’m excited to be a part of this collaborative effort to
look at this challenge holistically and provide care to individuals with the
goal of empowering and supporting them,” Turner said.
Westergard’s goal is to meet people in need of medical care, mental
health care, substance use treatment, transportation, housing, or food
assistance and connect them with the appropriate resources needed for help.
“This partnership is really beneficial to the individuals and
the community,” Westergard told the Lynnwood Times.
For more information about the Community Transitions program please visit: https://www.compasshealth.org/services/community-transitions/.