The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission has awarded Sacramento County Behavioral Health Services more than $2 million dollars in grant funding as part of Senate Bill (SB) 82 Investment in Mental Health Wellness Act third round crisis triage grant funds.
Sacramento is one of 11 counties to receive this third round grant funding aimed at increasing mental health services in schools for youth ages 11-14 years.
“As we continue to build out our services continuum, we are including more services targeted at youth,” says Uma Zykofsky, Sacramento County Behavioral Health Director.
This funding will allow Sacramento County
to position three, two-person mental health service teams in three targeted middle school campuses within Sacramento County. Sacramento County’s Children and Youth Crisis Service Needs Assessment revealed gaps in the existing service continuum on school campuses for students, including a lack of awareness of mental health issues for children and crisis services. This program aims to close these identified gaps.
The new program, Safe Zone Squad, will consist of a Youth Advocate Mental Health Worker and a Mental Health Counselor. Each team will have designated and consistent office hours to support walk-in crisis needs and to create a dependable presence. Each middle school campus will have a dedicated team so that students see the same team members throughout their days. The teams will work with students, faculty and parents to help demystify and destigmatize mental illness, provide education on managing escalating stress and learning how to identify and help someone who is distressed.
"This grant is very important to Sacramento County. We are making great strides in creating a more complete responsive continuum of care for our community,” adds Zykofsky. “This grant helps bring education and behavioral health services together."