About the Harborview Behavioral Health Institute

The Harborview Behavioral Health Institute (BHI) at Harborview Medical Center is committed to improving mental health and substance use treatment in Washington State and beyond. The BHI brings together innovative research and clinical practice, including faculty from the UW Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, to address key issues in behavioral health. The BHI’s work focuses on developing innovative practices and approaches to improve access to effective behavioral health care.

Harborview Medical Center provides a range of services to disadvantaged and vulnerable patients with serious mental health and substance use problems. These services include the Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES), which evaluates more than 5,000 patients each year, a 66-bed inpatient psychiatry service, and a full-service outpatient behavioral department. These services offer evidence-based psychotherapy, integrated behavioral health and primary care services, and office-based opioid treatment services to the community.

The BHI works in partnership with UW Medicine Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences to train the next generation of behavioral health care professionals in evidence-based treatment and disseminate effective practice. The BHI also serves as a center of excellence to advocate for awareness, reduce stigma, support evidence-based policy decision-making, and provide greater access to recovery-oriented programs. Through our work, we seek to expand services by leveraging technology and other innovative approaches to care whenever possible and clinically sound.

The BHI is designed to address behavioral health care needs through three pillars: Direct Clinical Services; Training, Workforce and Policy Innovation; and Research and Program Evaluation. We are working to close the gap between research and practice by creating a directory of community partners interested in working with our researchers to advance practice and serve as a link between the two.

In 2017, a community collaboration raised both money and awareness to create the Behavioral Health Institute at Harborview Medical Center. Their goals were to support research to develop better treatments, train and inspire the next generation of behavioral health care professionals, and advocate for awareness and policy change leading to better behavioral health care. The progress we’ve made is exclusively because of their dedicated efforts — it is a true community collaboration!