Sacramento County Behavioral Health Services is seeking community input on alternatives to calling 911 in a behavioral health or quality of life crisis. The public is invited to provide comments sharing their thoughts and suggestions in this online survey.
The survey will be available online through Friday, Nov. 13.
The Alternatives to 911 pilot program stemmed from a Board of Supervisors discussion in September budget hearings. District Two Supervisor Patrick Kennedy directed Health Services staff to propose alternatives to law enforcement responses to quality of life issues that can be better addressed by mental health professionals.
“It’s important to develop a more appropriate and robust system for care for individuals in crisis,” said Kennedy. “We need to meet the needs of people outside of the criminal justice system and take a public health approach to their quality of life issues, both in the moment of crisis and long term.”
The goal of the program is to increase mental health response to calls for service; decrease law enforcement need to respond to mental health distress, crisis or other quality of life issues; decrease unnecessary emergency department visits and psychiatric hospitalizations; and decrease relapse into crisis by linking to ongoing outpatient mental health services.
“The direction from the Board was very clear on this pilot program: to minimize law enforcement involvement and provide greater efficacy while responding to mental health crises in the community,” said District One Supervisor and Board Chair Phil Serna. “It is important to get input from the community and develop a program based on that feedback, and I encourage people to provide their thoughts on the matter.”
County staff will continue to obtain community input through December, review and analyze proposed models, assess cost and provide a proposal for a pilot program to the Board of Supervisors in February 2021.