‘Street Crisis Response Team’ to respond to behavioral health calls

‘Street Crisis Response Team’ to respond to behavioral health calls

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Tuesday announced the creation of a new 24-hour Street Crisis Response Team that would be used to respond to behavioral health emergencies in the place of law enforcement.

Under the pilot program, the team would provide appropriate responses to 911 and 311 calls regarding people experiencing intoxication, psychosis, or any other mental health or substance abuse-related emergencies. The effort aims to divert those individuals away from emergency rooms and jails and instead place them in behavioral health treatment facilities.

The response teams will be equipped with at least one paramedic from the Fire Department and a behavioral health clinician and behavioral health peer from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

The program will be funded with $4 million from the city’s general fund from the mayor’s proposed 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 budget. In addition, if a business tax reform ballot measure is approved by voters in the upcoming November election, the program could receive up to $16.8 million over the next two years, expanding it.

In addition to the response team, Breed’s budget proposal also includes the creation of the Office of Coordinated Care within the Department of Public Health, increasing behavioral health bed capacity, as well as expanded hours at the city’s Behavioral Health Access Center.

“Often, calls to 911 or 311 about someone who appears to be having a behavioral health emergency don’t actually need an armed police response. In fact, that type of response can sometimes makes things worse,” Breed said in a statement. “With this pilot program, we’re taking the first step toward redirecting non-violent calls from police to other resources, and are expanding behavioral health services in San Francisco.”

The response team pilot program is part of Mental Health SF, the city’s plan to improve behavioral health response for homeless San Franciscans, initially proposed by Supervisors Matt Haney and Hillary Ronen.

The response team program is also intended to fulfill Breed’s intentions to divert non-violent calls from law enforcement. Back in June, amid nationwide protests denouncing the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Breed called for ending the use of police officers as responders to non-violent calls, instead opting for community-based providers.

Bay Area Newssan francisco news

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

After the pandemic hit, Twin Peaks Boulevard was closed to vehicle traffic, a situation lauded by open space advocates. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
New proposal to partially reopen Twin Peaks to vehicles pleases no one

Neighbors say closure brought crime into residential streets, while advocates seek more open space

Protesters rally at the site of a proposed affordable housing project at 2550 Irving St. in the Sunset District on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Ming Vong/S.F. Examiner)
Sunset District affordable housing discussion flooded with ‘scare tactics and hysteria’

Project would provide 100 units, some of which would be designated for formerly homeless families

Members of the Sheriff’s Department command staff wore masks at a swearing-in ceremony for Assistant Sheriff Tanzanika Carter. One attendee later tested positive. 
Courtesy SFSD
Sheriff sees increase in COVID-19 cases as 3 captains test positive

Command staff among 10 infected members in past week

Rainy weather is expected in the coming week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Rainstorms, potential atmospheric river expected to drench Bay Area in coming week

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation Multiple rainstorms, cold temperatures some… Continue reading

U.S. Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s powerful reading was among the highlights of Inauguration Day. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Inauguration shines light in this never-ending shade

Here’s to renewal and resolve in 2021 and beyond

Most Read