Enlisting Mental Health Workers, Not Cops, In Mobile Crisis Response
Health Affairs / June 7, 2021
“The opportunity is enormous” to tie together the two efforts to create a system that provides “people to call, people to come, and places to go,” said Jonathan Goldfinger, CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, in Los Angeles County, California. The agency operates the nation’s largest mental health crisis hotline and is preparing for a tripling of calls from 130,000 to 390,000 a year. Without expansion, the county’s now-limited capacity to dispatch mobile mental health responders will be swamped, Goldfinger said. Many other counties have no capacity for such response.
The coming of 988 “is going to highlight where the gaps are,” Goldfinger said. “If people are waiting for someone to pick up that call or answer that text or are waiting for mobile response” personnel to arrive to assist someone, it will become clear how “woefully underfunded” the mental health system is.
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