Compass Health is on a mission to advance behavioral health in our area, specifically in Snohomish, Skagit, Island, Whatcom, and San Juan Counties. The private, non-profit state-licensed organization offers comprehensive behavioral health services. They have four locations in Bellingham. Among the core values listed on their website, Compass Health strives to be dedicated to the well-being of the communities they serve. Given their comprehensive services and wealth of compassionate staff members, Compass Health fulfills that value.

Compass Health actually began as Parkland Lutheran Children’s Home in 1902, caring for orphaned children. The home was created when a group of church members wanted to help the growing number of homeless children living on the streets. In 1953, a psychiatrist joined the organization to provide mental health care for the orphans. From there, Compass Health evolved into a multi-service mental healthcare provider. Staff members see more than 11,000 people annually for behavior disorders, and about 235 individuals benefit from their permanent housing plans. Additionally, there are 80 homeless individuals a day who drop by peer centers.

From just reading a handful of personal stories, anyone can see Compass Health’s holistic approach to mental health is crucial to our many neighbors dealing with mental health disorders and chemical substance additions. A group of 12 volunteers form the board of directors, and they keep Compass Health operating in line with its mission. They ensure facilities are equipped to handle a breadth and depth of services. Staff can serve people regardless of age and stage of mental disorder. Compass Health’s philosophy for treatment relies on seamlessly integrated services offered in a community atmosphere, yet which maximize a patient’s independence. They carefully build upon a patient’s strengths, offering support throughout the entire process. Compass Health offers treatment for patients’ disorders, general healthcare, and assistance to families. There’s also plenty of mentorship, lessons on coping skills, family counseling, group therapy, and one-on-one counseling. Every treatment plan is tailored to the needs of each individual patient.

Most clients at Compass Health tend to be low-income so the organization does their best to work with not only multiple insurance plans, but also offers sliding fees. They have a multitude of specialized grants which allow them serve certain populations. The organization accepts donations of not only monetary, but also real estate and in-kind gifts.

Mental health disorders tend to have more of a debilitating affect on people’s lives than physical illnesses — inability to hold jobs, pay bills, maintain relationships — all of which  create an invisible struggle for those who are suffering. Having an organization in our neighborhood that readily treats these issues is incredibly important for the overall health of our society.

"Staff members see more than 11,000 people annually for behavior disorders, and about 235 individuals benefit from their permanent housing plans."