Tens of thousands of people benefit from health and wellness services provided by the County Health Agency’s Behavioral Health Department each year. Services range from prevention and education about substance use and mental health concerns to intensive outpatient and inpatient mental health treatment.
Various legislative, fiscal and regulatory changes in the State and County affected a variety of the County’s behavioral health services last year. In 2016, The County expanded addiction services, integrated behavioral health and physical health care, and found new opportunities for quality foster care and collaboration throughout the community.
In 2016, the County Behavioral Health Department treated more than 2,500 individuals who struggle with addiction and risk issues that often lead to broken families and law enforcement involvement. The Behavioral Health Department also helped more than 5,400 people last year who suffered from mental illness lead more productive, independent, and high-quality lives.
The County provides mental health care and other related services to some of the most at-risk and underserved individuals in our community, including people experiencing a mental health crisis and veterans.
More than 1,400 people experience a psychiatric crisis in the community were assisted by the County’s Mental Health Evaluation Team in 2016. The County’s Mental Health Evaluation Team provided mobile crisis response services to these individuals through a contract with Sierra Mental Wellness.
The evaluation team responded to hospital emergency departments, schools, clinics, and other agencies to evaluate individuals in need of urgent mental health care. The team continues to work closely with law enforcement agencies throughout the County for community response.
In 2016, the County also helped more than 150 veterans through its Veterans Outreach and Treatment programs. These grew out of initiatives launched as a result of the local Mental Health Services Act plan.
The County helped veterans in 2016 by educating and informing veterans and their families at a variety of events throughout the region and, also, by sending a licensed mental health therapist to works with veterans at the Veterans Services Office, located in San Luis Obispo. The therapist also worked with the Veterans Treatment Court to assist veterans who have been charged with a crime. The Veterans Treatment Court enhances public safety and reduces the likelihood that veterans in the program will return to a life of crime.
In 2016, 30 local veterans received treatment or other support services through the Veterans Treatment Court. They were connected with the Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, received mental health treatment services and support, and received appropriate sentencing and criminal charges that considered their treatment needs and the seriousness of their offense(s).
The County Health Agency will continue to work with the community to meet the mental and behavioral health needs of all who live in San Luis Obispo County.