The SW Behavioral Health Navigator team is a growing program funded through the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) with a goal to bring children, youth and families together to address the behavioral health crisis in children and youth.

Carelon Behavioral Health is honored to have been chosen to manage this program in Southwest Washington. Carelon provides behavioral health solutions to large regional and specialty health plans, employers, and labor organizations of all sizes, as well as federal, state, and local governments. Carelon delivers care to 48 million individuals across all 50 states.

Background: The Youth Navigator Program in Southwest Washington is modeled after Kids Mental Health Pierce County (KMHPC) https://kidsmentalhealthpiercecounty.org/. KMHPC came about to address the growing behavioral health crisis among school age children and youth. This program will be gradually rolled out across all regions in the state. Carelon is proud to be one of the first to work with KMHPC to expand the program and is looking forward to serving our local communities.

Our Work in North Central Washington: Carelon is excited to announce that the North Central Washington region has launched their Youth Navigator Program in Okanogan, Chelan/Douglas and Grant Counties. The program is currently in their “soft-launch” phase and is taking limited referrals from identified entities. Please see the North Central website for more information: www.kidsmentalhealthnc.org.

Mission, values, and vision

  • Our Mission: The Youth Navigator program is a behavioral health care model in which we set up MDT’s (multidisciplinary team meetings) to connect our youth and families to the care and resources they need.
  • Our Values: We are committed to partnering with the community of Southwest WA to navigate the behavioral health needs of our youth and families by establishing trust, building relationships, inspiring hope, and walking alongside youth and families during the process.
  • Our Vision: Children, youth, and families are the center and priority of our work. Our vision is to collaborate with community stakeholders to bring them together with the intent to wrap around the youth and family to ensure they receive the care, support, and services needed to address their complex behavioral health concerns. Our long-term vision is to foster community relationships that will partner with us to reduce the occurrences of emergency room and inpatient hospitalizations due to complex behavioral health concerns.

Our Team:

Brook Vejo

Brook Vejo is the program manager at Carelon Behavioral Health and a Child Mental Health Specialist who has been working with youth and families, as a therapist and clinical supervisor, in SW WA for the past 13 years. Brook helped develop and supervise the Youth Mobile Crisis team in Clark County in her former position and has a passion for bringing the community together and improving access to services for youth and their families. Brook’s training and experience includes safety planning, crisis de-escalation and suicide prevention. Brook is looking forward to continuing to serve the families of Southwest Washington through the navigator program at Carelon Behavioral Health.

Charity Joy

Charity Joy is one of the Youth Outreach Care Specialist Lead’s at Carelon Behavioral Health. Charity has about 10 years of experience working with youth and families in various roles. Most recently, Charity has been working for the past two years with women struggling with addiction and mental health challenges. Charity has a Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling and Life Coaching, a Master of Business Administration (MBA), and is Mental Health First Aid Certified.

Charity knows firsthand the importance of mental health awareness, advocacy, and getting children and youth the services, care, and resources needed sooner rather than later. Charity is a former foster youth who has experience in navigating her own trauma and behavioral health services. Due to her lived experience, Charity has a heart of overwhelming compassion, empathy, and hope for the youth in her community who are experiencing complex behavioral health challenges. Social service is her life’s calling, and she is looking forward to advocating and serving children, youth and families struggling with behavioral health challenges in our community.

Taylor DeFrees

Taylor DeFrees is one of the Youth Outreach Care Specialist Lead’s at Carelon Behavioral Health. As a long-term SW Washington community member, she is aware of the barriers that stand in the way of youth individuals, and their families receiving services that are detrimental to their well-being. Through various platforms over the last 10 years, including clinical healthcare, education, and most recently mental health services, Taylor has helped others navigate through systemic challenges in order to acquire care.

Taylor understands that navigating through life’s challenges can be complicated, and at times overwhelming, but that there is a journey to honor and acknowledge throughout it all. Prioritizing mental health, and creating a safe and supportive space for individuals to seek the care they need through growth and self-care is something that Taylor is deeply passionate about.

Taylor has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and is currently working on her Master’s in Social Work with University of Montana.

Taylor is looking forward to continuing to support her community, making a difference, and helping cultivate strong mental health support options for youth and their families, through Carelon.

Kacey Bellamy

Kacey Bellamy is a Youth Outreach Care Specialist Lead at Carelon Behavioral Health. Kacey was born and raised in a small town called Goldendale in SW Washington and she is eager to help care for the community that is home to her. She comes to Carelon from a Public Hospital District where she spent over 5 years learning about healthcare from all aspects, including Primary Care, Behavioral Health, Pediatrics, Pain Management, Optometry, and everything in between. Kacey is a firm believer that healthcare should focus on “whole-person health” which involves looking at both the body and mind to develop effective treatment care plans that are patient-centered. Through her own experience navigating the healthcare system from a personal and professional point of view, Kacey has seen firsthand all the challenges that patients face while trying to seek care.

Kacey understands that seeking and accepting help takes courage and strength, and she strives to build relationships based on trust, respect and collaboration. Kacey’s warmth, empathy and compassion for others has been built from challenges that she has watched her loved ones endure and challenges she has endured herself. She is committed to connecting youth and families who are facing their own challenges with the care and resources they need. Kacey’s goal is to meet clients where they are at, come alongside them and support them in their journey towards healing and wellness.