Behavioral Health Administration

Latest News

Dear Family Members,


Our visitation policy recently changed to allow limited outdoor in-person visits.  We understand the importance of helping our patients stay better connected with their friends and families, and we’ve been seeking ways to support these connections while still guarding against the spread of COVID-19 in our facilities.  In fact, we updated our BHA Safe Start plan to provide additional guidance on our facilities’ Safe Start phases (which may be different than their counties), and to expand the ability to visit patients in person.  This plan includes offering outdoor visits in every phase, and offering limited indoor visits again starting in BHA phase 3.

To learn more about what phase a facility is in, and any facility-specific visitation guidelines, please view our Safe Start FAQs

Thank you for your understanding as we seek out the best ways to both protect the health of our patients and keep them connected with their loved ones.  If you have any questions, please email



Sean Murphy

Assistant Secretary of Behavioral Health Administration

What We Do

The Department of Social and Health Services’ (DSHS) Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) transforms lives by supporting sustainable recovery, independence and wellness. We do this through funding and supporting effective prevention and intervention services for youth and families, and treatment and recovery support for youth and adults with addiction and mental health conditions (also known as behavioral health).  It operates three state psychiatric hospitals and the Office of Forensic Mental Health Services that deliver high-quality services to adults and children with complex needs:

Child Study and Treatment Center is Washington's state psychiatric hospital for children and youth up to the age of 18. The center engages families and community teams to participate in the psychiatric treatment and educational services, and to plan for these young clients’ successful return to their home community.

Eastern and Western state hospitals provide evaluations, competency restoration and inpatient psychiatric treatment for individuals with serious or long-term mental illness. The hospitals deliver evidence-based and effective inpatient treatment programs, interventions and activities that promote patient recovery. Our therapeutic approach is designed to empower patients, instilling hope, support, self-discovery and independence.

The Office of Forensic Mental Health Services is responsible for the management of Washington’s adult forensic mental health care system, providing competency evaluation and restoration services. Forensic mental health services and competency restoration are for adults involved in the criminal justice system.

The Special Commitment Center (SCC) provides specialized mental health treatment for civilly committed sex offenders who have completed their prison sentences. Superior Courts in the county in which an individual was previously convicted of a sex crime have the authority to determine if individuals meet the legal definition of a sexually violent predator and to civilly commit them to the SCC.

Strategic planning is a critical component of successful organizations. It defines the direction of the agency and is used to make decisions about how to best allocate resources to achieve desired outcomes. Strategic Plan 2021-2023(pdf).

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