Rainbow Recovery Center brings Paula Poundstone to Bellingham 04/17/13

Paula Poundstone will provide a benefit performance for the Rainbow Recovery Center, a program of Whatcom Counseling.  Event will take place at 8 pm on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at Mount Baker Theatre.  Tickets are $39 and available at or call 360-734-6080.

It's impossible to attend a Paula Poundstone performance without marveling at her ability to interact spontaneously with audience members in conversations bound to garner riotous laughter.  Armed with nothing but a stool, a microphone and a can of Diet Pepsi, Paula's ability to create humor on the spot has become the stuff of legend.

Recently inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame,  Paula was unanimously chosen because "her wit, insights, intellect and fantastic capacity to improvise helped to set the bar for all artists in stand-up in the modern era."  Simply put, no history of comedy can be told without Paula's voice.


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After Newtown:  A Community Conversation on Mental health and Public Safety 01/25/13

The tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December have resonated across America, as families, educators and public officials raise questions about recognizing mental health issues and intervening effectively before individuals become a threat to public safety.

• How do we recognize the signs of serious mental illness, especially in young people?
• How do we provide help to troubled individuals and support to their families?
• In times of crisis, what resources exist in Bellingham and Whatcom County to protect public safety and provide mental health treatment for all who need it?

To address these questions, Whatcom Counseling & Psychiatric Clinic will sponsor a community conversation on mental health and public safety at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at Bellingham High School Auditorium. The event is free and open to all.

Participants include Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo; Sterling Chick, Children’s Mental Health Manager for Catholic Community Services; Dave Reynolds, Juvenile Probation and Detention Administrator for Whatcom County Superior Court and David Sager, Crisis Services Director, Whatcom Counseling & Psychiatric Clinic.

“This is not a conversation about gun control. It’s about how we as a community respond to the needs of troubled individuals and their families,” said David Kleiber, president of the Whatcom Counseling board of directors. “We want parents, educators, mental health experts, law enforcement officials and concerned citizens to come together to begin learning how to recognize those who are struggling with serious mental health issues and increase awareness of the many local resources that exist to help them. We welcome everyone to join the discussion.”

Contact: David Kleiber
President, Whatcom Counseling & Psychiatric Clinic Board of Directors

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Whatcom Counseling & Psychiatric Clinic Chooses New Executive Director 10/21/12

Jan Bodily, Chief Executive Officer of Four Corners Community Behavioral Health in Price, Utah, has been appointed Executive Director of Whatcom Counseling & Psychiatric Clinic. Bodily, who holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, has more than 18 years experience leading mental health service agencies in Utah. She replaces Whatcom Counseling Executive Director Dean T. Wight, who is retiring in January.

“Jan Bodily has a reputation as a collaborator and innovative leader within the state of Utah,” said David Kleiber, president of Whatcom Counseling’s Board of Directors, which conducted a nationwide search for a new executive director. “Whatcom Counseling is fortunate to have secured the services of such a highly qualified individual to carry forward its mission: to provide accessible, quality behavioral healthcare to Whatcom County residents.”

As CEO of Four Corners Behavioral Mental Health, Bodily led an agency that provides mental health services to three counties in Eastern Utah. Prior to that she served for three years as clinical director of the Utah Alcoholism Foundation’s House of Hope in Salt Lake City. She was owner of Personal Abuse Solutions & Treatment (PAST), a residential and outpatient treatment program in West Valley, Utah. Earlier in her career, she directed a psychiatric inpatient unit at West Valley Hospital and periodically maintained a private behavioral health practice.

“I am honored by the invitation to become executive director of Whatcom Counseling and Psychiatric Clinic,” Bodily said. “Promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders and achieving victory over mental illness has been a lifelong passion. I consider it a privilege to be part of the healing profession. This is a noteworthy time in behavioral health and I am excited by the challenges and opportunities ahead. I look forward to joining such a quality organization and a dedicated and successful team, bringing my experience, passion and commitment as we continue to foster resiliency and recovery for members of our community.”

Kleiber expressed the board’s gratitude to Executive Director Dean T. Wight. Under Wight’s guidance, Whatcom Counseling has extended its reach into the community, added new chemical dependency and substance abuse services and has been an active partner in local efforts at health care reform.

“Dean’s vigor, vision and expertise have made a real difference for Whatcom Counseling and Psychiatric Clinic and for the community as a whole,” Kleiber said. “We very much appreciate his efforts and wish him all the best.”

About Whatcom Counseling & Psychiatric Clinic

Whatcom Counseling & Psychiatric Clinic has provided mental health counseling, substance abuse, crisis outreach and respite services to Whatcom County residents for more than 50 years. A not-for-profit community mental health organization that administers state and federal mental health programs, the clinic has provided assistance to thousands of residents. Fully licensed by the state of Washington, it offers the latest mental health care treatment options combined with highly skilled, professional clinicians.

The clinic is a founding member of the Whatcom Accountable Care Organization and is a United Way partner agency.

In addition to the main clinic at 3645 E. McLeod Road, Whatcom Counseling & Psychiatric Clinic also provides drug, alcohol, chemical and substance abuse counseling at Westcoast Counseling & Treatment Center, 1200 Dupont Street – Suite 1A, in Bellingham. Its Rainbow Recovery Center, at 209 W. Holly Street, provides mental health recovery support and peer counseling to the chronically mentally ill, many of whom are homeless.  The Emergency Services program is housed at 2030 Division Street as part of the Whatcom County Behavioral Health Triage Center.

Founded in 1957 with a staff of three, the clinic has grown over the years to employ more than 110 people. Services include individual and group therapy; intensive outpatient, community support and care management; medication prescription and monitoring, and specialized treatment services for the elderly, children and families. The clinic also offers emergency services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to anyone in Whatcom County experiencing a mental health crisis.

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‘Recovery Month’ Spreads Message of Hope 09/29/12

In Whatcom County and across the United States, September was celebrated as “National Recovery Month,” an annual effort to promote awareness about the prevention and treatment of mental illness and substance abuse.

Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Recovery Month focuses on people in recovery and highlights the contributions of treatment and service providers. This year’s theme was “Join the Voices for Recovery – It's Worth It.”

In a proclamation announced in August, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire expressed support for the campaign and urged “all citizens to join me in this special observance.”

According to Gregoire, “It is essential to realize mental health and substance use disorders are treatable and people should seek treatment for these conditions with the same urgency as they would any other health condition.”

Recovery Month “promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible,” added Chris Imhoff, Director of Behavioral Health and Recovery at the Washington Department of Health and Human Services, in an online statement.

As part of the effort, events and rallies were held in communities across the nation. Whatcom County residents are invited to attend a “Recovery Day” march and rally in downtown Vancouver on Sunday, Sept. 30. The event will begin at noon on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery at 750 Hornby Street and will include speeches, live music, a moment of silence, and a “sobriety count.” Participants are encouraged to bring signs and banners. For more information, visit the Vancouver Recovery Day Rally Facebook page.

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Civic Leaders Praise WCPC’s Vital Services 06/01/12

Whatcom Counseling & Psychiatric Clinic provides vital services to every member of our community, regardless of ability to pay. The services the clinic provides contribute to this community’s quality of life, by giving the most vulnerable the tools they need to cope with mental illness and substance abuse.

Here’s what civic leaders have to say about how WCPC contributes to our quality of life:

Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws:

“Whatcom Counseling and Psychiatric Clinic plays a critical role in our community serving some of our most vulnerable citizens.  The clinic offers hope and recovery support to youth and adults living with mental illness.  Their expertise and commitment to providing quality mental health treatment ensures a path to health and resiliency for everyone seeking a better life."

Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo:

“Untreated mental disorders often result in violence and costly incarceration.  Many people with mental illness can be treated more effectively, humanely and at a lower cost within the mental health system than the criminal justice system. Services provided by Whatcom Counseling and Psychiatric Clinic help achieve our goal of community safety, keeping the mentally ill out of jail and ultimately lower costs to taxpayers.”

Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville:

“I have always supported mental health services because I know what a difference they make in our community.  As a state legislator, I was the sponsor of the first mental health parity bill, which required health-care insurance to cover psychiatric disorders. And as a former board member of the Rainbow Center, I know how important the Whatcom Counseling and Psychiatric Clinic is to our community.”



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WCPC Adds Substance Abuse Treatment Program 05/01/12

Whatcom Counseling and Psychiatric Clinic (WCPC), a local non-profit mental health organization, has signed an agreement with Westcoast Counseling & Treatment Center to acquire its chemical dependency treatment practice located at 1200 Dupont in Bellingham. Westcoast Counseling, owned by Chemical Dependency Professionals Carole Wells and Linda Waller, has been in business since January, 2003.

“Their positive reputation helping people with substance use and abuse challenges make Linda, Carole and their team great new partners.  Mental illness and substance abuse often go together as health issues people must deal with,” said WCPC Executive Director Dean T. Wight.

WCPC’s main clinic is located at 3645 E. McLeod Road. WCPC’s member-run Rainbow Recovery Center at 209 West Holly Street in downtown Bellingham, helps people who struggle with homelessness, mental illness and often substance abuse find a self-help path to recovery. 

The clinic also operates a supportive employment program on Bay Street and Crisis Services Center on Division Street.

The integration of mental health and substance abuse treatment services (collectively referred to as “behavioral health”) comes as the larger health care community is also looking at ways to better coordinate and integrate health care overall.  A community-wide “Transforming Health Care” effort being led by the Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Access is promoting integration of behavioral health and primary care services – the services of family physicians who often see mental health and substance abuse problems in their own practices. 

The chemical dependency treatment program, located at 1200 Dupont  St., Suite 1A, will continue to do business under the name Westcoast Counseling and Treatment Center, as a department of WCPC. 

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Our Unique and Compassionate Community 03/13/12

Whatcom Counseling & Psychiatric Clinic is dedicated to ensuring that all citizens of Whatcom County receive the mental health services that they need.  That mission was the focus of a recent presentation to the Bellingham City Club by Dennis Dashiell, a licensed mental health counselor and member of the WCPC Board of Directors.

Dashiell told the gathering that Whatcom County’s longstanding commitment to provide help to our most vulnerable citizens is both a wise expenditure of public funds and a hallmark of our unique and compassionate community.

Find out more in his essay, published on the Opinions page of the Bellingham Herald: Treating Mental Illness: Social Duty, Good Business.

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Your Support Matters Donate Now


For mental health counseling, call Whatcom Counseling & Psychiatric Clinic at (360) 676-2220 or e-mail, or simply go the main clinic at 3645 E. McLeod. Whatcom Counseling offers limited walk-in mental health evaluations, call ahead for times and days.

Whatcom Counseling also offers drug, alcohol, chemical or substance abuse services, call for an appointment.


If you fear for your safety or the safety of others, call 911.

If you are in crisis and need to talk to someone right away, call the Crisis Line:
TTY 1-425-339-3301


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