Behavioral Health and Sheriff's Office Community Action Team

Behavioral Health Department Introduces New Grant Program with Law Enforcement Team

Author: Frank Warren
Date: 5/15/2019 2:45 PM

The Behavioral Health Department has been awarded a grant to help keep people with mental illness and/or substance use disorders out of the criminal justice system. Behavioral Health has partnered with the County’s Sheriff’s Office to launch the Behavioral Health Community Action Team program. A kick-off event was held Wednesday, May 15 at El Chorro Regional Park in San Luis Obispo.

The Behavioral Health Community Action Team (BHCAT) is a co-responder model designed to provide proactive outreach, engagement, screening and assessment for early identification of people with mental illness or substance use issues, to encourage them to join treatment and other services, prior to or in lieu of arrest. The program launched recently with field encounters beginning February 1, 2019. BHCAT has a goal to encounter and engage 600 individual contacts in the field and warmly hand-off 60 individuals for treatment in each year of the grant’s duration.

Behavioral Health Administrator, Anne Robin states, “We are excited to offer this new program in collaboration with law enforcement.  Any opportunity we have to engage and intervene early with individuals provides us the chance to help them make substantive changes in their life.  We are also appreciative of the leadership provided by the Sheriff’s Office in support of co-response for the benefit of the community. We look forward to the partnership.”

This Behavioral Health Community Action Team (BHCAT) is funded through a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Early Diversion Grant. The County received one of seven national awards. This is a five-year grant with $1.6 million awarded to the County. The grant supports the County’s “Stepping Up Initiative” to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails.

For more information, please contact Star Graber, Division Manager for Drug and Alcohol Services, at 805-781-4275, [email protected]