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County of Sonoma California

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Mental Health Services: Crisis Intervention Training for Law Enforcement Personnel and Mobile Support Team

Crisis Intervention Training for Law Enforcement Personnel

A key approach for crisis response is to develop strategies to train community members to recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness and how to effectively intervene when a crisis occurs.

In March 2008, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department partnered with Sonoma County Department of Health Services Behavioral Health Division (BHD) to conduct the first Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Academy for Law Enforcement. The 4 day 32 hour training academy is designed to increase officers' skills to intervene with mental health consumers, individuals with substance use issues, and individuals in crisis.

The CIT Academy goals include:

  • Ensure the safety of officers and civilians;
  • Increase officer understanding of mental illness;
  • Improve relationships with the community, particularly with mental health professionals, people with mental illness, and family members.

The CIT for Law Enforcement concept is based on a successful crisis intervention program that began in Memphis, Tennessee. Officers are trained to de-escalate potentially violent situations and ensure the safety and diversion of the mental health consumer to a treatment center.

CIT trains law enforcement officers to become more adept at assisting mental health consumers, individuals with substance abuse issues, and individuals in crisis. CIT is useful in domestic violence cases and in contacts with youth, elderly citizens, and the general public.

CIT is conducted by specially trained law enforcement personnel, mental health professionals, mental health consumers and family advocates. The training includes identification of types of mental illness, verbal skills for de-escalation of potentially violent situations, specifics on suicide intervention, and a mental health system overview.

To date, over 300 Sonoma County law enforcement personnel have been trained in CIT

Mobile Support Team

Sonoma County Department of Health Services Behavioral Health Division has partnered with Santa Rosa Police Department and Sonoma County Sheriff's Office to implement the Sonoma County Behavioral Health (SC-BHD) Mobile Support Team. The Mobile Support Team is staffed by behavioral health professional who provides field based support to law enforcement officers responding to a behavioral health crisis. The goals of the Mobile Support Team are:

  • Promote the safety and emotional stability of community members experiencing behavioral health crises;
  • Minimize further deterioration of community members experiencing behavioral health crises;
  • Help community members experiencing crises to obtain ongoing care and treatment;
  • Prevent placement in settings that are more intensive, costly, or restrictive than necessary and appropriate.

Mobile Support Team (MST) is staffed by licensed mental health clinicians, certified substance abuse specialists, and post-graduate registered interns, mental health consumers and family members. MST staff receives specialized field safety training by law enforcement partners. MST operates during peak activity hours and days as informed by ongoing data review and coordination with law enforcement agencies. MST staff participates in law enforcement shift briefings to maintain open communication.

MST staff responds in the field to law enforcement requests to behavioral health crisis. Once the scene of the scene is secured, MST provides mental health and substance use disorders interventions to individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis, including and evidence based assessment that assists in determining if the individual is place on an involuntary hold. MST staff provides crisis intervention, support and referrals to medical and social services as needed. Follow up services are provided by mental health consumers and mental health consumer's family members to help link community members to ongoing care and treatment to mitigate future crisis.

Contact

24-hour access line to mental health information, screening, and referrals:
(707) 565-6900 or (800) 870-8786

24-hour Mental Health Crisis Services:
(800) 746-8181

Patient Rights Advocate:
(707) 565-4978

To register a grievance:
Grievance Coordinator
(707) 565-5053

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