Santa Clara County Steps Up Mental Health Efforts

Santa Clara County Steps Up Mental Health Efforts

The county says the new program follows a community engagement and program development process initiated in response to the killing of George Floyd and other recent events that have heightened longstanding concerns related to law enforcement.   In 2018, a Santa Clara County civil grand jury report found nearly 40% of police shootings in the county involved someone experiencing a mental health emergency.  Timeline: Recent mass shootings in the Bay Area

“With this new program the aim is to really have folks, individuals, individuals in crisis to seek help who may have not otherwise called because they are fearful of dialing 911 because it could be where there could be a law enforcement involvement in that response,” said Jeanne Morale, program manager for Santa Clara County’s Behavioral Health Department.  How Santa Clara County is responding to a surge in youth mental health needs

 “This new project is funded through the Mental Health Services Act funding, so this really allows counties to test out new programming that has never been done before which is the case with the CMR in our county.”  The expanded program uses a model where community residents, mental health workers, and emergency medical services providers will respond to community mental health crises instead of local law enforcement. 

Laura’s Law allows a court to compel residents into mental health treatment if they fail to follow through voluntary programs and end up in jail or in the hospital multiple times due to their mental illness.  Here’s how California’s mask rules will change June 15 In addition to the CMR program, the county recently adopted Laura’s Law also known as Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) that legally requires individuals struggling with severe mental illness to comply with suggested treatment. 

“And partly because they don’t know they need the help, they are too ill to understand their own needs.”  “We have a lot of programs in place that are serving a lot of folks, literally thousands and thousands of folks who need and get the county’s help but we also know there’s a relatively small set of folks out there who are not getting the help they need,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. 

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