L.A. County Looks to Streamline Response to Mental Health Crises

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today will consider ways to improve the county's response to threats of suicide and mental crises.

Supervisor Janice Hahn has authored two motions. The first calls on her colleagues to co-sponsor Assembly Bill 988, the Miles Hall Lifeline Act, which would begin the process of establishing 9-8-8 as a nationwide suicide prevention hotline number.

The second motion proposes connecting suicide prevention counselors who operate the local arm of a national suicide prevention hotline with a county team that can dispatch an in-person psychiatric team.

Hahn points out that various county call centers field cries for help.

“Calling the (Department of Mental Health) Help Line can link someone to a psychiatric mobile response team for dispatch, calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline can connect someone to a Didi Hirsch professional trained in suicide counseling, and calling 911 can elicit a response from law enforcement or paramedics,'' Hahn's motion reads in part.

“These call systems have been existing primarily in silos without the ability to interact with one another. This results in a fragmented crisis response system where calls for help are unable to be appropriately triaged to the right place.''

Hahn also proposes allowing counselors to reroute calls as needed to get callers the most appropriate help.

Both motions are set to be discussed during Tuesday's board meeting.

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