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County Administrator's Office

For Immediate Release

Sonoma County Supervisors approve $1.5 million to fund crisis responders

SANTA ROSA, CA | May 16, 2023

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved $1.5 million to fund mobile crisis teams, which respond to emergency calls for behavioral health crises that do not require law enforcement. The board also directed the Department of Health Services to expand the program countywide by the end of the year.

Mobile crisis teams operate in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Cotati and the unincorporated county. The board on Tuesday approved $500,000 for Santa Rosa’s inRESPONSE team, $500,000 for Petaluma’s SAFE program, and an additional $500,000 for the SAFE team in Rohnert Park and Cotati. Funding comes from Measure O, the quarter-cent sales tax measure voters approved in 2020 to fund mental health and homelessness services.

“When someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, they need a specialist who understands the situation,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “A dedicated team of behavioral health first responders is vital in these situations, and we are proud to support these services.”

The SAFE team responds to nearly 450 calls per month. Their goal is to avoid a law enforcement response while assisting individuals to access community support. The inRESPONSE program had more than 2,300 calls for service in 2022. Santa Rosa Police Department has seen a 16 percent decrease in mental health calls since implementing the program.

The state is requiring that counties provide community-based mobile crisis intervention services to eligible Medi-Cal beneficiaries experiencing a behavioral health crisis by the end of the year. The county has been working to expand the Mobile Support Team and create a regional model for the past several years.

“We are in discussions to pool all of our resources to ensure that we are addressing any gaps in all of our cities and unincorporated areas,” said Tina Rivera, director of the Department of Health Services. “It is absolutely going to take a village.”

With Tuesday’s board direction, behavioral health staff will continue the work of building a regional collaboration.

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