All 11 law enforcement agencies in the San Diego County region will now be able to refer mental health crisis calls that come into 911 to a county-sponsored Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT), it was announced Thursday.
“Not every call that comes into 911 requires a law enforcement response,” San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said.
It started as a pilot program in January 2021. In March, law enforcement agencies signed a memorandum of agreement with the county, and agencies have since begun phasing in the process of referring calls to MCRT.
The program is comprised of mental health clinicians, case managers and peer support specialists.
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“It’s bridging the gap, we are a program that is looking to go out and meet people where they are at in the community and provide them therapeutic interventions and resources that can help stabilize and break the cycle of their mental health struggles, Mobile Crisis Response Team Clinical Director Christian Hodges said.
There are 16 Mobile Crisis Response Teams working different shifts daily all across San Diego County and it is now a 24/7 initiative. Since January 2021, MCRTs have responded to 1,277 calls -- 1,099 were from the access and crisis line and 178 were from law enforcement.
Approximately 47% of the calls have resulted in the person being stabilized and able to remain in the community.
Approximately 22% of calls resulted in the individual being transported to behavioral health services in the community.
Those seeking assistance for someone having a nonviolent behavioral crisis are encouraged to contact the County’s Access and Crisis line at 888-724-7240.