Employee News - May 7, 2020

A service of the King County Department of Human Resources

King County Employee News


mental health

Supporting you this Mental Health Month 

May is Mental Health Month, an opportunity for us to not only learn more about how we can help those affected by mental illness, but also strengthen our own mental health and resilience. 

The coronavirus pandemic has changed our everyday lives – at home, at work, and in the community. It’s brought new fears and anxieties, and interrupted many of the things we love. But it has also a brought new opportunities to strengthen our personal connections, to look at how we can help our community through this challenging time, and to take time to reflect on our own health and self-care. Read more. 

computer mental health

Mental Health Month week one: Owning your feelings 

Mental health affects how we think, feel, and act. It also influences how we cope with stress, make healthy choices, and relate to others. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and, due to the stress brought on by COVID-19, this is a particularly important year to focus on this aspect of well-being. 

Balanced You is here to support employees and their loved ones in taking care of their mental health. During the month of May, Balanced You will focus communications on mental health tips and resources. 

For the first week of Mental Health Month, Balanced You is focusing on the topic “owning your feelings.” Owning your feelings means naming and accepting them. Are you experiencing stress, sadness, grief, joy, worry, or anger? These feelings, and any others, are valid. Allowing yourself to name and experience your feelings, rather than ignore and push them down, will allow you to better cope and maintain resiliency during difficult and uncertain times. Check out the Balanced You blog for a tool that will guide you in owning your feelings, as well as information on other King County mental health resources. 


Employee profile: Stepping up highlights commitment to public service 

During this difficult time, King County employees continue to be examples of true leadership and dedication to our public service mission. From nurses to front-line staff, the current situation has provided an opportunity for on employees from all different backgrounds and abilities to continue giving their time and energy to overcome this virus. 

One such employee is Angela Jimenez, a nurse in the Children with Special Health Care Needs program (CSHCN) within Public Health – Seattle & King County. A Seattle native, Angela has been with King County since 2018 and has enjoyed being able to use her skillset to give back to some of the most vulnerable populations in the community. 

Angela recently shared her passion for helping others by stepping forward to assist COVID-19 patients at the King County Isolation and Quarantine facility in Kent, a care site where several coronavirus patients are in quarantine. Nurses were asked to volunteer and Angela came forward, ready to help. She worked at the Kent site for a short time before being placed at the Issaquah Isolation and Quarantine facility. Here she currently serves as a charge nurse, ensuring quality of care, nurse schedules, and checking on patients. Read more. 


Executive recognizes Public Health Director Patty Hayes for receiving top award for University of Washington alumni 

King County Executive Dow Constantine lauded Public Health — Seattle & King County Director Patty Hayes for receiving the prestigious University of Washington Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus Award. The award is presented annually by the UW and the UW Alumni Association and is the highest honor the University bestows on a UW graduate. 

Educated as a nurse, with both a baccalaureate degree and master’s degrees from the University of Washington School of Nursing, Hayes leads one of the largest and most respected metropolitan health departments in the country, which is currently at the forefront of the nation’s COVID-19 response. 

“Patty’s leadership in responding to this historic crisis is the culmination of a career dedicated to caring for and lifting up our entire community, especially those facing the greatest health challenges,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Patty is an outstanding University of Washington alumnus and public servant, and at this pivotal time there could not be a more deserving recipient of this award.” 


King County Parks to re-open parks and trails on May 8: ‘Recreate Responsibly!’ 

King County Parks announced today that on May 8 it will re-open its parks and trails, including regional and backcountry trails, with some restrictions. The county cautions, however, that keeping parks and trails open will depend on visitors practicing safe distancing and following public health guidelines. 

Parking lots and trailheads will be open, as well as fields, docks and boat launches, and the off-leash dog area at Marymoor Park.  Visitors are asked to "Keep it Moving!" and refrain from gathering or playing team sports or pick-up games on the fields. King County Parks’ decision follows the Governor’s recent announcement about the May 5 re-opening of state recreation lands. 

Read more in the official press release. 

Tips for staying safe outdoors as more recreation lands reopen 

King County Parks is reopening parks and trails on May 8 following a six-week closure in support of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 transmissions through the state. 

Outdoor recreation is a great idea but we absolutely need to continue to take precautions to prevent bringing COVID-19 back home with us. Everyone must practice safe distancing and good hand hygiene whether indoors or out because lives depend on it," said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. "Where parks and trails are experiencing overcrowding and where safe distancing is not occurring, we will need to recommend re-closing those facilities to prevent the spread of infection." 

As part of reopening more than 28,000 acres of parks and open space, 175 miles of regional trails and 215 miles of backcountry trails, King County is offering tips for staying healthy while enjoying the outdoors: 


King County mental health resources during COVID-19 

King County is sending a mailing to all employees’ homes next week that highlights the mental health benefits and resources available to employees and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Highlighted services include how to access mental health counseling remotely via telehealth, how to get support via the Employee Assistance Program and Making Life Easier, and Balanced You and community programs and resources that support mental health. 

Please look for the mailer at home next week, and remember you can always get mental health resources information online via the Mental Health Resource Guide, the Balanced You website, and the King County Benefits website. 


Helping meet the need for supplies during pandemic 

A skilled nursing facility in Kirkland was “ground zero” for the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak. Along with hospitals, fire departments and other first responders, long term care facilities were hit hard when COVID-19 began in our region. Due to the massive demand and lack of supply, they were unable to get needed personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, and gowns, and other supplies like disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. 

King County activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Feb. 28 and sprang into action. One of its key roles in the pandemic is to support Public Health – Seattle & King County by coordinating resource management. The Emergency Operations Center is helping address the scarcity of personal protective equipment during the pandemic. Learn more in this short video. Read more.  

My Secure Advantage: New May webinars and COVID-19 financial resources 

As the number of businesses affected by the coronavirus continues to rise, so do the financial impacts on countless employees. My Secure Advantage (MSA) remains steadfast in its commitment to provide responsive, relevant personal financial guidance to employees and their families throughout this crisis and the better days to come.    

Register now for new May webinars 

  • Tips for Major Purchases: May 12, 2020, 9 a.m. and noon. Register here. 
  • I Want to Buy a House: May 28, 2020, 9 a.m. and noon. Register here. 

Stay up to date with MSA's latest COVID-19 resources


Mental Health Month webinar: A Conversation on Self-Care, May 14 

 According to Psych Central, “self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone’s mental health in unique ways. Now, more than ever, self-care and connection are needed. In recognition of Mental Health Month, join Shawna Johnson, Balanced You Employee Health Specialist, and Heather Steffensen, Interim Employee Assistance Program Manager, for A Conversation on Self-Care. This live, interactive webinar will cover self-care strategies, techniques and tools to reduce stress and anxiety, and benefits and resources available to support King County employees’ mental health.  

For questions or more information contact Balanced You at BalancedYou@kingcounty.gov. 


Need support so you can isolate or quarantine? We’re here to help. 

When someone has symptoms of COVID-19, they need to stay away from others by isolating themselves, even from people who live with them. That’s not always possible for those who live with many family members or with young children, or if their home isn’t set up so that the person who is sick can have a separate bedroom and bathroom. 

It can also be hard to isolate or quarantine for people who live alone or who do all of the errands and shopping for the household. And sometimes people live with family members or housemates who are at high risk for severe illness and possible death from COVID-19 and are worried about any potential exposure. 

For all of these situations, King County has safe, clean, and comfortable places to stay for anyone who can’t safely self-quarantine or isolate in their own homes. Some additional services may be available for people who may need help with basic needs, like getting food, so that they can stay at home. Read more.  

Featured job: Nurse Supervisor for COVID-19 Response - Strike Teams and Recovery Centers (PHSS) 

Salary$46.16 - $59.96 Hourly 

LocationMultiple locations in King County, WA 

Job TypeShort Term Temporary, Part Time, Std Wkly Hrs Vary 

DepartmentDPH - Public Health 

Job Number2020NH11609 

DivisionCommunity Health Services 


Learn more about this position or view all available positions. 

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