The Wellness Crisis Call Center and Response Treatment Program (WCCCRT), Sacramento County’s Alternative Crisis Response Program for Behavioral Health Crises or the program finally known as Alternatives to 911, finally got some action this week. And it was BIG.

On Monday December 13, Sac County Behavioral Health Services had what they called a “Report Back,” which really was just a regurgitation of the labor they crowdsourced without compensation from the interested and invested individuals that signed up to participate, or what they like to call “community stakeholder workgroups.”

This crowdsourcing was done back in August during four two-hour sessions where “community stakeholders” were asked for their detailed input on:

1) Program Operations and Training Suggestions

2) Community Partner Collaborations

3) Advisory Committee (the placeholder for this body currently resides under the Mental Health Board as a sub-committee)

4) Community Outreach and Communication Plan.

Over 150 individuals participated in one or more community stakeholder workgroup meetings and/or surveys. No demographic information for participants was provided cuz fewer than half (29%) of participants completed the demographic survey that followed each two hour meeting.

Participants were invited to different breakout groups for each topic area, and these breakout groups were facilitated by 2-3 county staff. First, Sac County got community members to design and develop their marketing and advertising strategy for the WCCCRT.

Participants provided thoughtful recommendations regarding ways in which the Wellness Crisis Call Center and Response Team could be promoted, including the locations where advertising could be placed and types of groups that could advertise, how to best reach specific ethnic/cultural communities, and specific images and phrases that should be included or avoided on the advertising materials.

Next, community members recommended that the WCCCRT teams receive training in specific areas and some participants even hooked it up with specific training resource recommendations. The specific areas of training recommended include Mental Health, Substance Use-Related, and Clinical Skills (including trauma-informed care); Crisis De-escalation and Suicide Intervention; Peer Training; Training on Cultural Competence and Cultural Responsiveness (especially as it relates to the impact of racialized trauma on the individual experiencing a crisis); Program Operations (like the legal rights of individuals with disabilities and individuals receiving mental health services); and Familiarity with Existing Community Resources and Having the Ability to Access and/or Conduct Warm Hand-Offs to Them.

For the Implementation topic area, community members were shown a graphic from the County of Los Angeles that defines levels of risk in Behavioral Health Crisis and asked “Do you agree with the 4 levels of risk and criteria that define the levels of risk or do you recommend any changes?”

Most participants indicated that mental health and substance use concerns and crises should not be handled by law enforcement but instead should be referred to Behavioral Health…Many participants articulated ‘high risk’ situations as involving immediate danger/threats to others (with consideration to severity of the threat and ability to carry it out) and situations in which law enforcement dispatch is legally required.
A few participants agreed with the levels of risk and criteria provided in Los Angeles’ crisis triage framework and stated that the levels of risk outlined are standard protocol that many counties and states use. Other participants recommended reviewing the CAHOOTS and MH First models’ risk factors and triage framework

Regarding Program Evaluation, participants were asked:

“If you were a recipient of this service, how would you like to give feedback (follow up via online link, phone call, etc.) and what metrics would you recommend be tracked to evaluate the Wellness Crisis Call Center and Response Team?” Most participants stated that a phone call is a good option for obtaining feedback because it is more personal and conversational. Some participants suggested that the WCCCRP offer a follow-up call to ask how the caller is doing and for feedback.

Because everyone loves to fill out a satisfaction survey after they’ve just had a mental health crisis, right?