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Open Access for immediate care

Lidia Harding
Programs Youth and Family Counseliing
Open access services

Same-day service when issues are critical

To address the increase in mental health and substance use issues, Youth Eastside Services (YES) has been working to reduce barriers to accessing immediate care. In 2016, YES’ average time to assessment for new clients was eight business days, and master ’s-level therapists were often too busy to take assessment appointments. To reduce these wait times in 2017, YES launched a pilot project called Open Access.

Open Access offers walk-in, same-day assessments for children and youth age 6-22 and their families, conducted by Master’s-level therapists, who are also dually-certified as Substance Use Dependency Professionals. YES clients receive a mental health and/or substance use assessment, are assigned to a clinician, and schedule their first counseling appointment, all on the same day.

“As a parent, I know what it’s like when a child is in crisis and you need to get that kind of help. That immediacy of response is so important because it gives that sense of hope. That’s there’s actually something that can help,” says David W. Downing, CEO of YES.

Today’s success of Open Access

The success of this walk-in service is apparent every afternoon, as our lobby fills with youth and parents requesting appointments, and client and families are logging in to virtual HIPPA compliant ZOOM meetings. We consistently assess 15-18 clients a week. Due to this new intake model, YES has experienced a 33% increase in clients accessing behavioral health services.

Click below to watch Suzanne Peterson, Open Access Supervisor at YES, share an informal video about the impact of YES’ walk-in, same-day Open Access service.


Please consider making a gift today to provide critical walk-in intake assessments for children, youth, and families of all backgrounds experiencing urgent mental health and substance use challenges.

And thanks to donations like yours, no family is turned away because they can’t afford to pay for services.

Donate to Open Access

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