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County of Sonoma California

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Behavioral Health Crisis Response Services

Sonoma County Department of Health Services - Behavioral Health Division (BHD) developed a comprehensive response to crisis that may occur in the community. The components include:

  • Mobile Support Team (MST)
  • Crisis Assessment, Prevention and Education Team for Transitional Age Youth Ages 16-25 (CAPE)
  • Community Intervention Program (CIP)
  • Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU)
  • Suicide Prevention Crisis Hotline
  • Crisis Intervention Training for Law Enforcement (CIT)
  • Guidelines for Effective Communication with 911 Dispatch

Crisis Stabilization Unit

Program webpage

Sonoma County Behavioral Health Division continues to operate 24-hour psychiatric emergency mental health services at CSU. CSU is staffed by licensed mental health clinicians, psychiatric nurses, and psychiatrists. CSU provides crisis intervention, medication assessment, stabilization, and information and referral services 24-hours a day, 7 days a week for adults, children, and families experiencing a mental health crisis.

CSU makes available crisis stabilization services providing up to 23-hours of supportive care, including medications for individuals in an acute mental health crisis. For those needing a higher level of care, voluntary crisis residential services or inpatient hospitalization is arranged.

Services are provided in English and Spanish. For more information about crisis stabilization and crisis residential services, contact Teresa "Sid" McColley at

Crisis Assessment, Prevention and Education Team for Transitional Age Youth Ages 16-25

Program webpage

The Crisis, Assessment, Prevention, and Education (CAPE) Team is an early intervention prevention strategy specifically designed to intervene with transitional age youth who are at risk of or are experiencing first onset of mental illness and its multiple issues and risk factors (substance use, trauma, depression, anxiety, self harm, and suicide risk). The CAPE Team is aimed at preventing the occurrence and severity of mental health problems for transitional youth. The CAPE Team is staffed by BHD licensed clinical staff and located in several high schools and at Santa Rosa Junior College to guarantee reaching the largest group of transitional age youth (TAY), ages 16 to 25 years, in Sonoma County.

The CAPE Team contains 5 core components:

  • Mobile response by licensed staff are available in school-based settings to provide services to TAY at-risk of or experiencing first onset of serious psychiatric illness
  • Training for selected teachers, faculty, parents, counselors and law enforcement personnel to recognize the warning signs of mental illness and refer to the CAPE Team.
  • Screening and assessment of at-risk youth in high schools and colleges.
  • Peer-based services including youth training and counseling and support groups for at-risk youth and families.
  • Educational activities for faculty, families, and youth, related to mental health education and awareness.

The CAPE Team implementation partners include, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) - Sonoma County, Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC), Sonoma County Office of Education, college faculty, school administrators, school teachers, mental health counselors, health and social service agencies, law enforcement agencies, and community-based organizations. The setting for this project focuses on school-based sites. CAPE Team staff participates on the SRJC Crisis Response Team and also work closely with Santa Rosa Police Department school resource officers located in Santa Rosa high schools.

The CAPE Team makes direct referral and linkage to BHD's Psychiatric Emergency Services and streamlines access to BHD's follow-up services including the range of services offered to minor youth and their family through BHD's Youth and Family Section and the Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Program to youth ages 18 to 25 years old.

Services are provided in English and Spanish. For more information about the Crisis Assessment, Prevention, and Education Team, contact Karin Sellite at

Community Intervention Program

The Community Intervention Program (CIP) provides urgent response to Sonoma County's most vulnerable populations including people who are homeless, veterans, people with substance use disorders, indigent people and people who are Medi-Cal beneficiaries who recently experienced psychiatric hospitalizations, communities of color, the LBGTQ community, geographically isolated communities, and people who come to the attention of law enforcement.

CIP staff is regularly out-stationed in the environments where these vulnerable populations congregate, including homeless service organizations and shelters, substance use disorders treatment programs, low-income housing projects, community health centers and the free clinic. CIP staff also responds to calls from law enforcement and family members and loved one of people who are struggling with behavioral health issues. CIP responds to people in their homes and on the street who are not in immediate crisis, but, if ignored, may require a crisis response.

Services are available in English and Spanish. For more information about CIP contact, Cruz Cavallo at

Crisis Intervention Training for Law Enforcement Personnel

Program webpage

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 and the BHD conducted 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 is conducted twice each year. The goals of CIT 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 Personnel 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 dealing with 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, CIT Academies have trained hundreds of law enforcement personnel, including officers from Sonoma County Sheriff's Department and police departments from Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Cotati, Sonoma Valley, Sebastopol, Cloverdale, Windsor, Healdsburg, and Santa Rosa Junior College.

For more information about the Crisis Intervention Training, contact Teresa "Sid" McColley at contact Teresa "Sid" McColley at

Mobile Support Team

Program webpage

In December 2010, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved the implementation of a Mobile Support Team (MST). The MST is the second phase to the Crisis Intervention Training model. After training, the CIT model promotes a specialized field response once a crisis occurs.

The MST is operated by BHD and will be staffed by specially-trained licensed behavioral health professionals, post-graduate registered interns, a certified substance use specialist and follow-up response from consumers and family members. The MST will operate during peak activity hours and days as informed by ongoing data review and coordination with law enforcement agencies.

MST staff will respond to law enforcement requests. Once the scene of the scene is secured, the MST provide mental health and substance use disorders interventions to individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis, including assessment, and placing the individual on an involuntary hold, if needed. MST staff provides crisis intervention, support and referrals to medical and social services as needed. Staff also conducts follow up support visits to individuals and their families in an effort to mitigate future crisis.

Services are provided in English and Spanish. For more information about the Mobile Support Team, contact Karin Sellite at

Guidelines for Effective Communication with 911 Dispatch


In October 2010, MH/AOD published Guidelines for Effective Communication with 911 Dispatch. This brochure was developed by MH/AOD community partners in an effort to provide family members and loved ones with language to communicate to law enforcement officers that a mental health crisis was in progress.

The brochure provides a variety of scripts that communicate the severity and the circumstances of the mental health crisis. It assists the user to communicate important information about the person experiencing the mental health crisis. It informs the caller how to call and how to ask for assistance. It also prepares the caller with information about the law, their rights, and how the officers might respond.

The goal of Guidelines for Effective Communication with 911 Dispatch is to prepare both law enforcement and family members for responding to a mental health crisis in hopes of increasing public safety and decreasing poor outcomes.

For more information about Guidelines for Effective Communication with 911 Dispatch, contact Susan Castillo at

Suicide Prevention Crisis Hotline - North Bay Suicide Prevention Program

Program webpage

Funded by Proposition 63 – Mental Health Services Act, NBSPP expands Family Services Agency -Marin accredited 24/7 Suicide Prevention Crisis Hotline to four North Bay counties, including Sonoma.

Sonoma County residents have direct access to immediate, confidential, high quality and effective services provided by the Hotline staff by calling 1-855-587-6373. For more information about the North Bay Suicide Prevention Hotline of Sonoma County, contact Amy Faulstich at

Sonoma County Department of Health Services logo

24-hour Emergency Mental Health Hotline

Anyone living in Sonoma County who is having a mental health crisis can get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling our 24-hour Emergency Mental Health Hotline: (800) 746-8181. The call is free.


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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