Supes approve plans for alternative crisis response system

Los Angeles County Seal.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion aimed at continuing to create an alternative crisis response system in their regular Tuesday meeting.

This comes as the county’s Department of Mental Health recently released “L.A. County Alternative Crisis Response,” an assessment of the current crisis response system, along with recommendations for addressing gaps and improving coordination between agencies. 

The motion is set to allow for the development of the report’s recommended investments in three core crisis system’s components, which included:

  • Regional Crisis Call Center Network: Design, construct and implement a state-of-the-art Regional Crisis Call Center Network.
  • Crisis Mobile Team Response: Increase crisis mobile response team and (therapeutic) transport capacity and right-size co-response teams across jurisdictions (including in unincorporated county areas).
  • Crisis Receiving and Stabilization Facilities: Increase behavioral health bed capacity, including but not limited to urgent care center, crisis residential treatment program, inpatient psychiatry and peer respite resources.

“The Alternative Crisis Response Steering Committee brings together all the major players in our county’s first response system, like the Fire Department, the Sheriff’s Department, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Mental Health and many more,” county Supervisor Janice Hahn, of the 4th District, said. “This really is the first time that all of these departments from different jurisdictions have collaborated together to tackle the fragmented nature of the county’s crisis response system.”

The motion is also expected to create subcommittees of the Alternative Crisis Response Steering Committee for each of the three core components to delve deeper into how to streamline and coordinate the system.

“The system as it is is not currently designed to match the supply of resources that we deliver and the demand in our communities,” Dr. Jonathan Sherin, Department of Mental Health director, said. “We need to meet the health and human service needs in our communities with health and human service response.”  

While Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, approved of the motion, she challenged Sherin to look holistically across the board, not just at 911, but also those calling 211 for assistance. 

“The idea is really that there’s a team approach when calls come in, with multiple subject matter experts in different agencies, and it gets filtered from them for an assessment, triage and then dispatch,” Sherin added.

Other motions

In addition, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion aimed at establishing a countywide veteran suicide review team, allowing the county to begin sharing data about veteran suicides with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Affairs officials have reported that as many as 20 veterans die by suicide every day nationwide, and the county needs to better understand how this issue affects veterans locally, according to Barger.

“I am grateful for the collaboration of our community and government partners who are working every day to ensure we help veterans and their families access services that save and enrich their lives,” Barger said. “Destigmatizing mental health issues is a crucial step in order to stop veteran suicide in Los Angeles County.”

A suicide review board would enable the county to expand prevention efforts and services, with the help and recommendations of experts in diverse fields.

The Board of Supervisors also approved the final tract maps for two tracts in the Mission Village subdivision of the 21,000-home Newhall Ranch housing development in Stevenson Ranch, which calls for homes to be built between Interstate 5 and the Ventura County line, and between Highway 126 and the Santa Susana Mountains.

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