Sonoma County supervisors create specialized team for mental health crises

Will support law enforcement calls; ‘it’s long overdue’

SONOMA COUNTY – Sonoma County Supervisors last December approved funding for a mobile support team that will assist law enforcement in dealing with mental health and substance abuse crises – an area that is increasingly common and difficult for enforcement to deal with.

The Sonoma County Sherriff’s Department and the Santa Rosa Police Department experience such confrontations up to 15 times per day, according to a county feasibility study, which recommended the creation of  the mobile support team.

The creation of the Behavioral Health Mobile Support Team will “help foster better outcomes for individuals in crisis and their families and provide support for law enforcement personnel confronting extremely difficult situations,” concluded the report.

Sonoma County Health and Human Services will operate the mobile support team through its mental health division, after the board allocated just over $160,000 for its implementation.

Funding for the program lasts through fiscal 2011.

Specially trained and licensed staff from county health will respond to law enforcement requests to provide mental health intervention, once the scene is secured.

[caption id="attachment_27827" align="alignleft" width="108"] Shirlee Zane[/caption]

Supervisor Shirlee Zane, who in 2009 proposed the idea to health services and law enforcement, said it would save the county money while improving mental health services.

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