Health and Safety

All Articles in the Category ‘Health and Safety’

SAFES Program Offers Rapid Psychotherapy Interventions to Kids Experiencing Suicidality in Underserved Areas of Washington

Seattle Children’s wants primary care providers in Eastern Washington to know about a new program called Supporting Adolescents and Families Experiencing Suicidality (SAFES). SAFES provides rapid psychotherapy interventions to 12- to 18 year-olds in underserved areas of Washington state who are experiencing a suicidality crisis that does not require an Emergency Department (ED) visit. The program is based on the Crisis Care Clinic model developed at Seattle Children’s.


Refer a Patient: A patient’s PCP can call to speak with a child psychiatrist at the Partnership Access Line (PAL) at 866-599-7257. See SAFES flyer.


Patient Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must live in a Washington state eligible county (Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pen Oreille, Spokane, Stevens)
  • Age 12 to 18
  • Patient’s primary care provider has active concerns for suicidality, but child is not severe enough to need an ED visit
  • Child should not be engaged in other mental health services unless the current therapist/provider cannot safely handle the child in the community


Please note there are currently no insurance restrictions.


SAFES is funded through a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration administered by Washington State Department of Health.

For more information please email: [email protected].

Short Wait Times for Mental Health Referral Service

Wait times are currently low for families requesting assistance from the Washington Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens. Families are able to get an intake appointment within a few days, which is about the quickest since the program’s inception in 2019.

After speaking with the intake specialist, families will receive a list within a few weeks of mental health therapists in their local area who are taking new patients and accept their insurance. Even though the entire process may take up to a month, we encourage families to get started by contacting the referral service to get in the queue.

The number to call for an intake appointment is 833-303-5437 (interpreter line: 866-583-1527). Teens who are 13 and older can call the referral service for themselves. An online option is also available.

The service is for children and teens through age 17 who live in Washington state.

Special Update: COVID-19 Bivalent Boosters Available

Seattle Children’s is now offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 updated (bivalent*) booster vaccine and the Moderna bivalent booster vaccine to our patients, workforce members and community members. Individuals can receive a bivalent booster dose if it has been at least two months since they completed their primary COVID-19 vaccination series or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved single-strain (monovalent) COVID-19 vaccine.

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COVID/Capacity update

We Anticipate a Strong Surge in COVID-19 Infections and Respiratory Viruses as Kids Return to School This Year

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COVID-19 and Capacity Updates

Regional Capacity Situation Update

  • Hospitals across the state have been reporting high occupancy for several months. Most major systems are well over 100% inpatient & ICU capacity.   The region is also seeing high sustained PICU census.
  • Hospitals serving adults are the most impacted and are reporting extreme levels of Emergency Department boarding and use of auxiliary spaces such as conference rooms for patient care.
  • Staffing constraints at many hospitals are further impacting bed availability.
  • Following sustained high transmission of COVID-19 in our region, we are finally seeing a plateau in transmission.

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COVID-19 and Capacity Updates

Update on Emergency Department and Hospital Capacity

  • Seattle Children’s continues to experience very high census and significant capacity constraints in the Emergency Department and inpatient areas.
  • The recent closure of Fairfax Behavioral Health and decision by Providence Everett to close its pediatric beds to make space for adult patients have further constrained our hospital capacity.
  • Last Friday, July 1, the hospital moved to contingency status for staffing. Contingency falls under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Disaster Planning guidelines and is part of a continuum that ranges from “conventional” to “contingency,” and, finally, “crisis.” Moving to contingency means that the workspaces, staff and/or supplies used are not consistent with daily practices but maintain or have minimal impact on usual patient care processes.
  • We continue to run under a disaster incident command structure to rapidly manage issues and ensure safe care for the patients that need us.
  • Our region is reporting that most hospitals are over 100% capacity and some are reporting their highest occupancy ever. This is resulting in rural critical access hospitals (those without critical care capabilities) frequently boarding critically ill patients in their Emergency Departments for prolonged periods of time. It is also stressing the EMS system and impacting 911 response times in certain areas of the state.
  • It is imperative that our provider colleagues manage patients in primary care whenever possible and appropriate. If sending patient to the Seattle Children’s ED, please call our Communications Center at 206-987-8899 first. This will help us to manage and plan for necessary space and staffing. Please also inform the family we will see them as soon as we can but there is likely to be a wait.
  • See our Emergency or Urgent Care Referral Guide.

COVID-19 Vaccination for Children Ages 6 Months to 4 Years Old

Seattle Children’s is now able to offer COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 6 months to 4 years (under 5 years old) based on approvals last month from the CDC, Washington State Department of Health and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.

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Four Ways to Boost Childhood Vaccination Rates

Washington state is down 13% overall in the number of vaccines administered compared to pre-pandemic levels. The National HPV Roundtable estimates that it may take 10 years to catch up on cancer-preventing human papilloma virus (HPV) immunizations.

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Special Update: Seattle Children’s Now Offers COVID-19 Vaccines to Children Ages 6 Months to 5 Years Old

Starting today, Seattle Children’s is offering appointments to children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years (under 6 years old) to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, based on recent approvals from the CDC, Washington State Department of Health and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. We are grateful to be able to offer COVID-19 vaccines to young patients.

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Update on COVID-19 and Hospital Capacity

  • Our Emergency Department (ED) continues to experience very high volumes. Children are coming in for a variety of reasons, primarily related to COVID-19, other viruses, mental health concerns and normal childhood injuries.

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News on Measles, COVID-19 and Our Current Hospital Capacity

A special bulletin of Provider News was sent on Monday, May 2 with the following information. We are including it here again for those who may have missed it:

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