Growing demand for child and adolescent mental health care is, unfortunately, coupled with a severe shortage of providers. Families, especially those in rural and semi-rural areas, routinely face long waits to see a local provider or long drives to an out-of-area provider, or simply go without care.

To help, Seattle Children’s in March began partnering with Washington state on a new referral service. Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens connects families to licensed providers in their local area with current availability who fit a child’s mental health needs and insurance coverage. Washington Healthcare Authority funds the referral service, and Seattle Children’s operates it.

The free, telephone-based referral service works closely with the existing Partnership Access Line (PAL) mental health consult line at Seattle Children’s. We make referrals for children and teens 17 and younger from across Washington, connecting families with evidence-supported outpatient mental health services in their community.

How to Access Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens

Families can call 833-303-5437, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time, to connect with a referral specialist.

  • We will ask your patient for information including their mental health needs, location and health insurance plan.
  • Within 7 business days, a referral specialist will call and email the family with at least 2 providers who fit their needs and have openings.
  • We’ll also fax the referral suggestions to you.
  • Within 2 weeks, we’ll follow up with your patient’s family to see if they were able to make an appointment and provide further assistance if needed.

Or, as part of a PAL consultation call, primary care providers can request that we connect your patient with mental health providers in their local area who can meet their needs. We will ask about your patient’s needs, location and health insurance plan. We will follow up with the family to complete the intake process.

For complete information, including how the referral service identifies providers and what therapies providers offer, click here.