- Departments H-Z
- Human Services
- Behavioral Health
- Behavioral Health Tax
Behavioral Health Tax
In December 2020, the Pierce County Council passed Ordinance No. 2020-138s authorizing the collection of a 1/10th of one percent sales tax to fund behavioral health and therapeutic court programs within Pierce County. This tax, allowed under RCW 82.14.460, will provide funds for mental health and substance use disorder treatment. Treatment dollars will be targeted toward services not covered by Medicaid, private insurance, or other local or federal grants.
The county began collecting the tax on July 1, 2021. Ordinance 2020-138s required Human Services to work with the Pierce County Behavioral Health Advisory Board to develop a Behavioral Health Improvement Plan. This plan will help identify gaps and needs in the community in order to set funding priorities. The Pierce County Council approved funding for some behavioral health programs while the plan was being developed. These programs are outlined in the Current Programs link below.
The Behavioral Health Improvement Plan (BHIP) was approved by the Pierce County Council on December 7th, 2021.
- Behavioral Health Improvement Plan and RFP
- Current Funding
- Provider Resources
- Workforce Report
The Behavioral Health Improvement Plan (BHIP) was approved by the Pierce County Council on December 7th, 2021. The plan can be found here.
The BHIP reflects Pierce County’s vision of a community where those with behavioral health needs will have access to a full range of innovative, effective, and culturally competent services, including:
- Community education
- Prevention and early intervention
- Outpatient and community-based services
- Crisis and inpatient services
- Services for justice-involved populations
- Housing supports for those with behavioral health needs
- Rural behavioral health services
- Behavioral health services for underserved populations
- Programs addressing the behavioral health workforce shortage
In March 2023, Pierce County Human Services will release an RFP seeking applicants for programs to be funded by the Behavioral Health Tax during 2024-2025. Based on the needs identified in the BHIP, priority funding areas will include:
- Evidence-based programs aimed at educating the community on behavioral health and decreasing stigma, including programs addressing school-age youth.
- Other innovative and effective programs that reduce stigma and educate the community on behavioral health.
Prevention and Intervention Services
- Behavioral health screening in primary care and other social service settings.
- Innovative approaches to prevention, wellness sustainability, and recovery supports for all ages.
- Interventions at earlier ages could include support for at-risk parents and those caring for children with complex behavioral and developmental needs.
- Other innovative and effective programs that address unmet behavioral health prevention and wellness needs of Pierce County.
Outpatient and Community Based Services
- Expanding school-based behavioral health services to more school districts within the county. Services may include mental health and SUD treatment, screening, anti-stigma education, and prevention services. Applicants should consult with local districts regarding their specific needs.
- Recovery support and peer services.
- Supportive employment services to assist behavioral health clients in obtaining and maintaining employment.
- Programs that expand SUD treatment for the uninsured or services not covered by Medicaid.
- Behavioral health services to veterans.
- Wraparound with Intensive Services (WISe) for the uninsured or underinsured.
- Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT).
- Other innovative and effective programs that address unmet SUD and mental needs within Pierce County.
Crisis and Inpatient Services
- Step-down programs (outpatient or facility-based) for individuals exiting inpatient SUD or mental health treatment.
- A sobering center or SUD diversion center.
- Other innovative and effective programs that will reduce recidivism and help individuals access treatment at the most appropriate level of care.
Services for the Justice Involved
- Crisis co-responder and alternative response programs.
- Programs formerly funded under Trueblood. The County intends to continue to support behavioral health programs similar to those formerly funded through the Trueblood settlement. Bidders are encouraged to propose innovative and effective approaches that provide treatment for this population. Programs could include:
- Housing navigators
- Case management
- Peer services
- Wraparound services
- Pre-release assessments
- Programs in support of therapeutic courts
- Other innovative and effective programs that address unmet behavioral health needs of justice involved individuals within Pierce County.
- On-site behavioral health services at homeless shelters using a model that integrates the expertise of mental health, substance use, and primary care.
- Outreach and behavioral health support for those at risk for homelessness.
- Supportive employment services to assist in obtaining and maintaining employment.
- Other innovative and effective programs that address unmet behavioral health needs of those experiencing or at risk of homelessness within Pierce County.
Rural Behavioral Health Services
- Mental health and substance use disorder programs located in or providing outreach and rural and non-urban areas of Pierce County. Treatment and prevention programs should be designed to meet the needs of these communities.
Behavioral Health Services for Underserved Populations
- Mental health and substance use disorder programs targeting traditionally underserved populations within Pierce County. Programs may include services from any of the priority areas mentioned above.
Programs Addressing the Behavioral Health Workforce Shortage
- Programs that address the behavioral health workforce shortage in Pierce County. Proposals should address the needs identified in the 2023 Pierce County Behavioral Health Workforce Report.
Programs currently funded under the BH Tax include:
- AAPI Mental Health Community Education & Mental Health Vouchers (Asia Pacific Cultural Center)
- Outpatient & Community Based Services (Asian Counseling Treatment Services)
- Preventing BH Crises for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (Behavior Bridges)
- Outreach & Relationships (Catholic Community Services)
- Lakewood Youth Wellness Project (Communities in Schools of Lakewood)
- Integrated Behavioral Health Program Expansion (Community Health Care)
- Assisted Outpatient Treatment (Comprehensive Life Resources)
- Behavioral Health Shelter Service (Comprehensive Life Resources)
- School Connect (Comprehensive Life Resources)
- Jail Diversion Program (formerly known as Trueblood) (Greater Lakes Mental Healthcare)
- Healing with the Herd (Horses Guiding Humans Foundation)
- Culturally Attuned Counseling for Humanitarian Immigrants (Lutheran Community Services)
- Mary Bridge Children's YES Pierce County (Mary Bridge Children's Hospital)
- Expanded Therapeutic Court Services (Multicultural Child and Family Hope Center)
- Co-Responder Program (consists of Trueblood responders) (Pierce County Sheriff)
- Parent Resilience Program-Pierce County Expansion (Perinatal Support Washington)
- Wrap Around Mental Health Court (Pierce County Alliance)
- Pierce County Therapeutic Case Management (Seneca FOA)
- Pierce County Wraparound with Intensive Services (WISe) (Seneca FOA)
- Building Mental Wellness through Resiliency Youth Program (Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department)
- Opioid Task Force: Fentanyl Awareness Campaign (Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department)
- Nurse Family Partnership (Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department)
- Teen Mental Health First Aid (Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department)
- The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic (Valley Cities Counseling and Consultation)
- LGBTQ Youth Drop-In Center and Services (Youth Oasis)
View metrics and outcomes of programs funded with the Behavioral Health tax by clicking here.
The Pierce County Council authorized funding for the programs listed below from July 2021 through June 2022. To learn more about the services and performance of each program, visit the links below.
1. Pierce County Behavioral Health tax onboarding
2. Behavioral Health Invoice Tutorial
Behavioral Health Workforce Report
In the summer of 2022, Pierce County Human Services requested a report to assess existing behavioral health and mental health provider capacity and determine workforce development and behavioral health system needs.
As identified in the County’s 2021 Behavioral Health Improvement Plan, the lack of an adequate behavioral health workforce is a significant barrier to accomplishing these goals. Lack of access to behavioral health services has been a growing problem locally and nationally. The main reason for this lack of access is a shortage of counselors available to do the work. Community behavioral health agencies go months or years with vacant positions because they are unable to attract counselors in a competitive labor market.
The workforce study provides recommendations across an array of target areas, including education, training, supervision, salary increases (funding increases in Medicaid), and innovative approaches to staffing.