Resource: Meet Our Regional Behavioral Health Advocate

Monthly Resources – January 2023
Published December 12, 2022

Meet Our Regional Behavioral Health Advocate

For anyone in need of assistance in accessing Behavioral Health services in North Central Washington, we now have a Behavioral Health Advocate who can help. For anyone already accessing Behavioral Health services, and encountering difficulties in doing so, our new Behavioral Health Advocate can help. These services are free and confidential!

Washington State has an Office of Behavioral Health Advocacy (OBHA), and here in North Central Washington, we now have a full-time Behavioral Health Advocate! Nanine Nicolette has served in previous years as a part-time Behavioral Health Ombudsperson, and was away from the role for about a year. She has now returned to a role that has become full-time and has been renamed. OBHA services are confidential and free of charge.

How can Nanine help our students and families? If obtaining access to Behavioral Health services is problematic, Nanine can help to identify and bypass barriers. When people are receiving Behavioral Health services, but having difficulty in communicating with their providers, feeling misunderstood, or in any way concerned that they are not receiving what they need from services, Nanine can help in various ways.

In some cases, Nanine will coach individuals in advocating for themselves; in others, she may advocate for them directly. Some individuals may require Nanine’s advocacy while they learn to speak for themselves. Nanine’s first step is to listen carefully and to identify the issue. She can investigate and mediate between parties toward resolution. The goal of Behavioral Health Advocacy is to resolve problems at the lowest level possible, ensuring that the rights of persons receiving services are respected, and their needs are addressed.

While Behavioral Health Advocacy is available across the lifespan, to people of all ages, Nanine particularly enjoys serving youth. She knows that youth prefer text messages over voice telephone calls, and that they employ vocabulary a bit different than what adults use. She is willing to work with them in ways that make them comfortable. To reach Nanine via email, use nanine@obhadvocacy.org. Her direct phone number is (509) 389-4485.

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