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Department of Health Services

For Immediate Release

Mobile Crisis Units to expand countywide by year’s end

SANTA ROSA, CA | December 12, 2023

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today approved plans to expand Mobile Crisis Units, teams of mental health professionals who respond to emergency calls that do not involve law enforcement, throughout the county by the end of the year.

The multidisciplinary teams will have at least one member able to deliver a crisis assessment, at least one member trained to administer naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses, and at least one member who is a substance use disorder licensed practitioner or a licensed mental health professional. The teams will respond within 60 minutes to urban crisis calls and 120 minutes to rural crisis calls, anywhere in Sonoma County, 24 hours a day.

“Health experts and law enforcement agencies agree situations in which individuals are experiencing a non-violent mental health crisis are better handled by dedicated teams of specialists,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “The results of the pilot program have been successful. Now we are preparing to offer this vital service anywhere in the county, anytime day or night.”

The California Department of Health Care Services is requiring counties to provide mobile crisis services as a benefit in the Medi-Cal program by Dec. 31. The mandate requires a fully integrated approach in which a single mobile crisis services infrastructure serves the entire county.

Sonoma County’s Behavioral Health division began operating mobile crisis support teams in 2012. Subsequently, several cities developed their own crisis response teams with funding from Measure O, a quarter-cent sales tax passed in 2020 to support mental health and homelessness services. The mobile crisis response programs currently operating include the county’s Mobile Support Team, Santa Rosa’s inRESPONSE team, South County’s Specialized Assistance for Everyone or SAFE team, and the Community Oriented and Equity or CORE team operated by the Healdsburg Police Department.

These teams work to assist individuals experiencing a behavioral health or substance use crisis with the goals of reducing emergency department care, psychiatric inpatient hospitalizations, and law enforcement involvement.

Plans are underway to establish a centralized crisis call center, which will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The call center will receive crisis calls, screen and triage them, and then dispatch the appropriate teams countywide.

The crisis hotline number will be 800–746-8181.

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Media Contact:
Matt Brown, Communications Specialist
(707) 565-3040
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403