First public behavioral health facility of its kind in Washington unveiled at Maple Lane

Maple Lane site a “new horizon” for treatment, says Gov. Jay Inslee

By Isabel Vander Stoep / [email protected]

In what Gov. Jay Inslee described as Washington’s first facility on a “new horizon in behavioral therapy,” natural light warms the room despite it being a foggy, rainy Friday morning.

Inslee and other officials gathered at Maple Lane School’s newest building for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrating what they call “Oak Cottage.” It is the state’s first publicly funded “civilian” center for behavioral therapy. It is located off Old Highway 9 SW in Grand Mound. For security reasons, the site will have controlled entrances and exits. Agreements are in place with local law enforcement agencies, according to the governor’s office.

Located in Thurston County, the co-ed facility accommodates up to 16 guests over the age of 18 and includes dormitories that are shared Spaces and classrooms to teach life skills, help with sensory issues, and focus on a variety of mental and behavioral issues that can stunt a person’s social and personal development.

Inslee said Washington is experiencing a mental health crisis that has been exacerbated by the “long shadow of COVID.”

A far cry from the “old, centralized, giant industrial complex” evoked by the thought of behavioral therapy, Inslee told The Chronicle, the new model is intended to keep people closely connected to their communities, churches and families. He said it fits a mission outlined in 2018 to dramatically change the mental health model in Washington, which he called “long overdue.”

According to Inslee’s office, another 10 facilities will be completed across the country by 2024, offering 239 beds. Then construction begins for another 76 beds. He said these would support connections to existing care teams and other local resources without forcing residents to drive across the state.

“It’s up to date,” the governor said. “It was designed with compassion.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by Council members from the Confederate Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, including Chairman Dustin Klatush and Tribe Health Director Denise Ross.

“I am honored to be here as leader of the Chehalis Tribe on behalf of the Chehalis Tribe and to be part of that vision,” Klatush said, reading from a prepared statement. “I actually helped break ground as one of the contractors. … To see how beautiful this turned out, it just makes me happy to see the finished product. I raise my hands to everyone who was involved.”

Classes at the facility will include financial management, basic household skills like cooking and laundry, problem solving, effective communication, and “empirically supported cognitive behavioral treatment,” according to Grays Harbor County principal Jeneva Cotton. Classes will focus on taking action guided by core values, Cotton said, and discharge planning begins the day a new resident arrives.

Speakers at the ceremony also praised the building’s design and green focus. It relies heavily on natural light, uses solar energy, and generally looks less prison-like than most dormitories.

“We want our residents to be able to fully and successfully reintegrate into their communities, which are our communities,” Cotton said.


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