On Wednesday, the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments held the official launch of SGV CARE – Crisis Assistance Response & Engagement. Two mobile mental health crisis teams will respond to requests for assistance in Arcadia, San Marino, South Pasadena and Montebello.
The teams are made up of licensed doctors and certified peer support specialists from the Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol & Drug Abuse (LA CADA – the same organization that provided housing awareness services in the city of Alhambra).
During the SGV CARE pilot, professionals are available 40 hours per week in Arcadia, San Marino and Pasadena Sud (M, W, Th, F 8-18) and 20 hours per week in Montebello (M&W 8 am-18). They accompany police officers or firefighters in their “alternative emergency vans”.
The program has been running since the summer. SBLA spoke to two team members, Jackalyn Jung and Jordan Guitron, about what a working day is like.
“I would say kind of like the paramedics are always on hold and ready to go when they get an emergency call… It’s the same for us when we get an emergency call regarding mental health. We are ready and get to wherever the call is in 10 minutes, ”says Jung.
Guitron himself is an EMT with five years of experience, including a FEMA deployment in New York City at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Jung is an associate clinical social worker in the process of becoming a licensed clinical social worker. Together they serve Arcadia, San Marino and South Pasadena, while another team takes Montebello.
What kind of crisis do they respond to? “Many times it may seem, but not always, like someone withdrawing from any drugs, or getting off them, or generally just experiencing suicidal thoughts, murderous thoughts and ideations.” Jung says.
Guitron adds: “It can even go as far as a person who becomes severely disabled, that’s why you have the doctor on hand to write a 5150 hold. [72 hour involuntary psychiatric hospitalization] or 5585 [for minors] depending on the age of the client. “Guitron says that someone who is” severely disabled “is” someone who is unable to take care of himself such as eating, bathing, cleaning himself. “
The calls all reach SGV CARE from 911s reported by partner agencies (local police and fire brigade). So far, Jung says, “I think the calls we’ve taken have been great; they are exactly what this program was implemented for. They were clients struggling with mental health crisis issues and we were there to reduce the escalation of the situation, assess where their head was at the time, see if they need further mental health assessment […] They [the police] it would transfer clients to the hospital. We will follow them right behind, but since we are the ones writing the hold, we will be with the customer making sure they are safe. Once discharged from the hospital. We make sure they are connected to ongoing support services ”.
Jung adds: “We want to make it a 24/7 service because people can be in crisis at any time of the day or night. So eventually, hopefully, we’ll get there. But for now it’s working ”.
SGVCOG President and Monrovia Mayor Becky Shevlin says this is the goal. Shevlin also noted that the mobile crisis response program will receive twelve months of pro-bono technical assistance from Harvard Kennedy School of Government Performance Laboratory.
Funding for the pilot comes from Measure H, and at the time of the press conference, California State Senator Anthony Portantino (SD-25) contributed an oversized check of $ 850,000 from the 2022-2023 state budget.
“This program will save someone’s life,” Portantino said. “When 44% of our teens are feeling sad, we need to do something about it. When the homelessness crisis rages, we need to do something about it. When the opioid crisis rages, we have to do something about it … And this is the local government saying ‘we’ll take the reins and do something.’ “
SBLA San Gabriel Valley coverage, including this article and SGV Connect, is supported by Foothill Transit, which offers car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to new Gold Line stations via the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling in the heart of downtown LA To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Transit on foot. Go to good places ”.
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