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Caring About Care: Valley Cities Behavioral Health Care

Posted on Jan 25, 2023 in:
  • Master Builder magazine

By MBAKS Marketing Coordinator Chancellor Wallin

Valley Cities Behavioral Health Care, Kent location

In decades past, public health crises brought to mind a very different picture than what’s painted today. Before shelter-inplace, school closures, and social distancing, the most serious threats facing the American public existed outside our homes.

Now, a new set of risks have emerged.

If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it was how to spend a lot of time with the most important person in each of our lives—ourselves. While we were stuck at home in a world with an uncertain future, the pandemic brought with it an unintended side effect: an increase in the prevalence of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse disorders worldwide.

MBAKS community partner Valley Cities Behavioral Health Care knows this better than anyone. Jessica Forshee, clinic manager of the Kent branch, described how the past two and half years changed their operations.

“Our clinics never closed throughout the pandemic. While our care became accessible and flexible with telehealth, it also flooded. The past two years have been a constant balancing act between supporting our staff and clients. But we never closed our doors.”

Valley Cities Behavioral Health Care, Kent location

Established in 1967, Valley Cities is a nonprofit organization that has been providing care to people of all ages for over 50 years. With a dozen clinics scattered all over the greater Seattle area, Valley Cities offers comprehensive outpatient and inpatient treatment in direct response to the changing needs of the communities they exist in.

Today their services include licensed mental health care counseling and substance use disorder treatment, outreach to unhoused and displaced members of our community, and specialized care that delivers counseling and family support to veterans and their loved ones.

At the core of their philosophy is the belief that the resiliency and strength of the human spirit can overcome the obstacles that confront the people who walk through their doors or dial in to their phone lines. But, unlike many traditional mental health care providers, their belief in a holistic approach supports individuals in reaching their highest potential.

Working collaboratively with over 25 community partners, Valley Cities is integral to the King County mental health care system. They believe recovery is a road with many different exits and that every patient has different needs and obstacles—and understanding these is key to providing care that works.

Rejecting prescriptive treatment means some of their services aren’t what you’d expect. Resume building, professional development, and community connections all make the list. This intersectional approach means that behavioral health treatment doesn’t always entail therapists and prescriptions. It’s not enough to cure someone of their depression or anxiety if their environment is cultivating bad or unsafe habits and behaviors.

Valley Cities Behavioral Health Care, Kent location

Valley Cities comprises teams of nurses, grant writers, and case workers—talented professionals from all different backgrounds with a singular purpose: helping give back to our community. These passions aligned in the fall of this year to forge yet another community partnership: MBAKS’ Painting a Better Tomorrow.

Jessica explained, “It’s important to make our clients feel like our space is welcoming, soothing, and calming so they feel safe enough to access care. That’s exactly why we looked for programs and grants to create spaces of belonging.”

Built in the 1990s, the Kent clinic is one of Valley Cities’ most prominent offices— servicing the entirety of south Seattle with the biggest capacity and staff the organization has to offer. Over the years, the priority has been on keeping their care accessible and open; cosmetic and decorative repairs, while necessary, fell to the wayside.

That’s why on November 5, MBAKS staff, members, and volunteers took to the walls of the Valley Cities Kent office to provide a fresh coat of paint— and a promise. While our means may be different, for a moment, our ends aligned for the same goal—Caring about the people around us. And that’ll be a promise worth keeping.

Interested in learning more about the Valley Cities mission? Whether you’d like to donate, volunteer, or be a part of others’ recovery journey, Valley Cities is always looking for those passionate about the cause. There’s a multitude of ways to help, just as Valley Cities believes there are many ways to care. Learn more at


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