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County of Sonoma California

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Community Violence


photo of housesThe Sonoma County Department of Health Services supports the county's response to community violence. All employees are trained to assist the county during times of disaster or local emergency. The Department of Health Services also provides ongoing training to all staff on workplace security and Emergency Action Plan protocols that addresses issues such as threats of violence.

The Department of Health Services also supports programs and services that focus on early intervention strategies to prevent family and community violence. Violence is clearly recognized as a public health problem, and preventing injuries and violence is a leading health indicator identified in Healthy People 2020. Violence prevention is incorporated into the work of various program areas within the Department.

Crisis Intervention Programs from the Department of Health Services

The Department of Health Services employs individuals who are trained to provide direct crisis intervention services such as health services in the Sonoma County Juvenile Hall, Mental Health services in the Sonoma County Adult Detention facility, Sexual Assault Response Team in addition to those services listed below.

The Behavioral Health Division within the Department of Health Services provides a number of direct services to assist outpatient treatment, crisis intervention and response. The Department has used Mental Health Services Act dollars to support a comprehensive response to crisis that may occur in the community.

Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES)
Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to adults and children who are experiencing a mental health crisis. People who are experiencing a crisis or who are concerned about a family member or friend who is in crisis can speak to a licensed clinician. PES also works with people who present a health and safety concern to themselves or others and may be unable to make safe decisions on their own behalf.

Crisis Intervention Training for Law Enforcement Personnel
Over the past five years, 300 officers countywide have received crisis intervention training. 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.

Mobile Support Team (MST)
The MST responds to law enforcement requests. Once the scene of the scene is secured, the MST provides mental health intervention to individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis, including assessment and placing the individual on an involuntary hold, if needed. The MST provides crisis intervention, support and referrals to medical and social services as needed. The MST also provides prevention and follow up services to individuals and conduct follow up support visits to individuals and their families in an effort to mitigate future crisis.

Crisis Assessment, Prevention and Education Team (CAPE) for Transitional Age Youth Ages 16-25
The CAPE Team is an early intervention prevention strategy specifically designed to intervene with youth ages 16 to 25 years who are at risk of or are experiencing first onset of mental illness and its multiple issues and risk factors.

Guidelines for Effective Communication with 911 Dispatch
The Guidelines were developed with 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.

Family Support Services

Buckelew Programs Inc.

Family Justice Center Sonoma County
The Family Justice Center Sonoma County empowers family violence victims to live free from violence and abuse by providing comprehensive services, centered on and around the victim through a single point of access. Building on strong interagency collaboration, we protect the vulnerable, stop the violence and restore hope.

National Alliance on Mental Illness - Sonoma County
The Behavioral Health Division provides support to National Association on Mental Illness - Sonoma County (NAMI SC) to provide family driven services both directly and through contracts with other organizations.

Data and Reports

The Case for Gun Policy Reforms in America (pdf)
Source: John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.

Firearm-Related Injuries Affecting the Pediatric Population
Source: Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Healthy Sonoma: Public Safety Topic Area
Source: Sonoma County Department of Health Services.

Now is the Time: The President's Plan to Protect Our Children and Our Communities by Preventing Gun Violence (pdf)
Source: U.S. Office of the President.

A 2011-2012 Sonoma County Healthy Kids Update: What Are Our Kids Saying? (pdf) posted March 6, 2013
Source: Sonoma County Office of Education.


National Emergency Assistance Team (NEAT)
Source: National Association of School Psychologists.

In the News

President Obama Announces New Measures to Prevent Gun Violence
Source: U.S. Office of the President.

Restricting High-Risk Individuals from Owning Guns Saves Lives
Source: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

California Mental Health Directors Association Statement on Recent Connecticut Tragedy (pdf)
Source: California Mental Health Directors Association.