Santa Rosa, CA – January 9, 2019 – The Sonoma County Mobile Support Team (MST), a crisis response program that supports local law enforcement responding to individuals experiencing a mental health emergency, is expanding its services beginning January 15, 2019.
The expanded service areas in West County and Sonoma Valley will include: Sebastopol, Graton, Forestville, Rio Nido, Guerneville, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Boyes Hot Springs, and Sonoma. Currently, the MST works in Windsor, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati, and Petaluma and takes calls from the Sonoma County Sheriff, Santa Rosa Police Department, Santa Rosa Junior College District Police, Rohnert Park Police Department, Cotati Police Department, and Petaluma Police Department.
The MST aims to provide support to requesting law enforcement officers responding to a behavioral health emergency by linking individuals in crisis to needed resources, decrease negative outcomes, increase the safety of law enforcement and individuals in crisis, and connect individuals to services that best meet their needs following the incident.
Sonoma County Third District Supervisor Shirlee Zane lobbied for the MST, which partners local police with the expertise of licensed mental health clinicians and certified substance abuse disorders counselors from the Department of Health Services (DHS) Behavioral Health Division.
“It took my first four years as Supervisor to launch the MST program in 2012 and it is wonderful see it grow to include more areas in the County. However, our work doesn’t stop here and to sustain this program over the long term, we’ll need to identify additional funding resources for MST and other critical behavioral health services,” said Zane.
The MST expansion represents real progress in the County’s efforts to increase public safety and provide more positive outcomes for families and community members when confronted with behavioral health emergencies.
Sonoma County Behavioral Director Bill Carter said the goal of having such services is to increase better outcomes for all involved.
“Improving crisis services is a priority and the MST program is a key part of this effort. Programs like MST provide critical crisis interventions that link people to the appropriate services within Sonoma County’s system of care,” said Carter.
The MST is a model for crisis intervention that allows those experiencing behavioral health emergencies to get the services they need, which reduces strain on law enforcement when responding to such calls and prevents individuals in crises from impacting the jail system.
“The County’s Mobile Support Team has been a great mental health resource for our deputies in the field handling crisis situations. I’m very excited to see the expansion of these services to new areas the County. Working together collaboratively, we will be able to much better serve the residents of Sonoma County,” said newly elected Sheriff, Mark Essick.
To learn more about the DHS Behavioral Health Division’s Mobile Support Team, go to https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Health/Behavioral-Health/Community-Response-and-Engagement/Mobile-Support-Team/