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Status update - mental health response without law enforcement

Shout out to Jacob Benitez, former SJPC intern and McGeorge law student, for his work on this piece!


On Tuesday August 9th, the Board of Supervisors heard the update on the Wellness Crisis Call Center and Response Team; the relevant item is listed below:


Item 46 - Report Back On Wellness Crisis Call Center And Response Team Implementation


Background:


Last year (September 2021) the County’s Behavioral Health Service held 4 workgroup meetings regarding the Wellness Crisis Call Center and Response Team (WCCCRT; previously known as Alternatives to 911). The purpose of these workshops were to collect input from community members regarding the Crisis Center and the meeting was used to develop protocols.


Slides linked here - the images below are pulled from this slide deck


What are the goals of the Call Center?

What does the program cover?


There are three main components to the WCCCRT.


1. A 24/7 call center which will receive calls from community members experiencing a mental health crisis, or from family members or any partner seeking help. The call center workers will de-escalate and stabilize callers and also link them to any additional service providers. The staff will include mental health clinicians with lived experience.


2. A mobile field response team. The 24/7 mobile crisis response teams will be dispatched to places where services are needed. Response teams will assess the needs and risks of their dispatch and create a safety plan. Luckily, transportation to further emergency resources will be provided.


3. The project will consist of a 24/7 urgent care center. Currently there have been some workforce challenges, but the team was hoping to resolve these challenges by the end of August.


What work has been done?

ARPA fund approval should allow for the Center to be able to hire the adequate staff needed.


What else needs to be done?

In addition, the public has demonstrated its preference towards getting a new name for the Center. This is probably because “Wellness Crisis Call Center and Response Team” is kind of a lot.


Moreover, the Center is trying to get the ability to use the phone number 988 and collaborate with the suicide prevention line in order to get calls linked with suicide (that are not immediate suicide threats) to be dispatched to the Center. However, the Call Center will also have a separate line for crisis class services.


It is important for the City of Sacramento to have equitable access to mental health resources. Non-law enforcement programs should be tailored towards health and quality of life by helping anyone in need. Hopefully, the Center can get adequate staffing support that meets the needs of the community.


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