From Supported Employment Participant to Behavioral Health Division Employee  

Patsy Murphy, Behavioral Health Recovery Care Authorizer with the King County Department of Community and Human Services

King County is celebrating National Recovery Month this September by helping to raise awareness, support, and recovery resources for people with mental health and substance use conditions and their families, friends and co-workers who support them.

One program that provides behavioral health supports is the Behavioral Health Supported Employment Program. This program assists people who have experienced chronic mental health and/or substance use conditions to gain and maintain competitive, integrated employment throughout our region.

The program provides job search assistance and ongoing support after job placement through an evidence-based, integrated team approach with behavioral health providers. People in the publicly funded behavioral health system move forward in their recovery journeys, despite the many challenges they may face such as homelessness, past criminal justice involvement and/or inconsistent work history.

Patsy Murphy, now a Behavioral Health Recovery Care Authorizer with the Department of Community and Human Services, credits the program with successfully helping her through difficult times several years ago to gain the courage to re-enter the workforce with support after a long absence due to her behavioral health condition.

“The program helped me create the structure and support I needed to reach for my goals and dreams,” she says.

Patsy knows how effective the program can be from her own experience. Many years ago, during a trying time, Patsy connected with the program and benefitted from the program’s assistance to find not only job opportunities but also resources that ultimately helped her achieve her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and become hired as a Forensic Peer with Valley Cities Behavioral Health, a community behavioral health agency. As a “Peer,” she provides support to others with similar conditions based on her own “lived experience” of having a behavioral health condition and navigating through the behavioral health system.

“Anything is possible if you put your heart and mind to it,” Patsy says.

Through the years, Patsy has continued to move along her wellness and recovery path. She now works as an employee for the Behavioral Health and Recovery Division, the division that helped her along the way. She now gives back to the community in different ways, such as helping with peer connection meetings and at various women’s shelters where she educates and helps others on their wellness and recovery path.

“I continue to use my recovery tools every day, including spending time with the supportive people I’ve worked hard to build relationships with. I do these things to stay well and show others that recovery is possible and that you’re never alone in your efforts to be well.”

Patsy praises the program from her own personal experience in hope that others with behavioral health conditions can benefit from the program as well. “Recovery is possible for everyone. I’m just one example of the many employees in Recovery who are compassionately contributing to our King County workforce with our own unique life experiences.” To learn more, visit the Behavioral Health Supported Employment Program website.