Description of the overall organization
The Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Team(BWMCRT), composed of two crisis counselors(one with an EMT background), uses a special van to provide on-location, in-community, assessment and stabilization services. The teams provide information, referrals, transportation to services, and additional follow-up support and case management. They help with non-emergency and non-medical, public assistance situations which historically have been handled by the Police Department.For example, the BWMCRT assists with: mental health crises; suicidal ideation; non-domestic violence family disputes; drug and alcohol abuse/addiction; welfare checks; death notification; and homelessness.
Description of Project/Program
Educating the community about the BWMCRT is a vital component of changing how we respond to and reach out for assistance, and reduce the stigma associated with the need for mental health assistance. By educating the community that there is a better alternative and that there is appropriate care for them, they are more inclined to reach out for help before it becomes an acute crisis.
Description of how the Impact Giving grant funds will be used:
The funds will be used to enable a BWMCRT to conduct 2-3 events each month in each city they serve (currently Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Anaheim; soon Newport Beach and Irvine; with 5 more cities by the end of the year) to build relationships with schools, community organizations, churches, senior centers, etc. so the community is aware of this vital resource and thus, more inclined to reach out for help when in crisis.
High Impact & Life Transforming
Police are not trained to respond to mental health issues, often exacerbating an already difficult situation. Mental health and substance use are often criminalized because the system is set up that way, making jails and emergency rooms our default destinations. The BWMCRT is providing the solution by providing services to break the cycle of how we respond to mental health.
During community engagement activities BWOC will be focused on normalizing conversations around mental health, destigmatizing mental health, educating the community about the new resource available to them, and building relationships with the communities in which they serve. Additionally, the BWMCRT will provide valuable information on how to respond to and deal with stressful situations. They will also provide links to resources.
Each city supports the annual operating costs of the program through their city budgets. The outreach component of this program is considered supplemental and not something covered by the cities. BWOC will focus on ongoing philanthropic support to sustain this part of the program. Additionally, BWOC will look to community organizations and faith-based organizations to help sustain their outreach efforts.
BWOC was born out of the need for one organization to be the backbone that brings together the disjointed mental health services throughout the county. BWOC currently has over 300 agencies as part of the BWOC ecosystem including several major hospitals: Hoag, Memorial Care, Kaiser, Providence and CHOC.
Additionally, each BWMCRT works in partnership with local law enforcement, fire, and homeless task services. The program operates through the city’s 911 response system so that the integration into each city is seamless. In the cities served, a 911 caller will be provided 3 options, police, fire, or the BWMCRT. Additionally, BWOC works with partner agencies to provide robust and diverse resources and to refer individuals based on their unique needs.
For too long, the criminal justice system has been forced to solve society’s mental health and substance abuse issues. Jails and prisons engage in mass incarceration because we don’t have the systems in place to deal with people properly. By providing a team of specialty-trained crisis counselors, BWOC provides individuals, at their most vulnerable, an opportunity to engage in circumstance-changing encounters.
The BWMCRT in each city gathers data to measure program outcomes and impacts on mental health issues. Monthly data reports are reviewed and made public to help residents gain a better understanding of this comprehensive program. Additionally, they will measure how outreach efforts impact the calls they receive and the community’s overall willingness to engage with the BWMCRT.
Organization’s Mission Statement
Be Well OC brings together a robust, community-based, cross-sector strategy–public, private, academic, faith and others—to create a community-wide, coordinated ecosystem to support optimal mental health.
Link to the website: https://bewelloc.org