Behavioral Health Services Department Offers New Mental Health Services

News Highlights

  • Services expanded to provide new levels of mental health care.
  • New programs provide the highest level of care, are evidence-based and have been implemented across the country with consistent positive outcomes.
  • Mental health is essential to overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable.

Santa Clara County, CA, October 15, 2019. Imagine a child with a serious emotional disturbance, or a juvenile just released from the justice system with a severe mental illness, or an adult who is diagnosed with a persistent mental health condition. Where do they go for care? Until now, community-based options were limited or did not exist.

The County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services Department is expanding services to provide new levels of care for residents of our community with differing needs. Some people cycle in and out of Emergency Psychiatric Services, hospital care and incarceration, which can make it difficult to connect to ongoing services.

“We need to get services to people where they live, when they need them, and in a way that promotes personal and public safety,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian, President of the Board of Supervisors and Chair of the Board’s Health and Hospitals Committee. “Interrupting the downward spiral of folks in crisis, and getting people connected to regular mental health services and care is the goal of these new programs.”

Two of the programs are new to Santa Clara County: Assertive Community Treatment and Forensic Assertive Community Treatment. These two programs provide the highest level of care, are evidence-based and have been implemented across the country with consistent positive outcomes. Both programs are designed to address an array of mental health needs and to be available 24/7 should a crisis arise.

“We are working to ensure that all Santa Clara County residents have access to the appropriate level of care,” said Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “These programs provide alternatives to hospitalization and locked emergency psychiatric settings. Our priority is always to provide the highest level of care that meets what our community members need.”

  • Assertive Community Treatment program will provide comprehensive, evidence-based behavioral health services to individuals diagnosed with severe and persistent mental health and/or co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions. With the highest level of outpatient services, the program will have 200 slots for adult and older adult clients.
  • Forensic Assertive Community Treatment program will serve high risk, homeless and criminal justice-involved individuals. The program is comprehensive, time-unlimited and evidence-based behavioral health outpatient service. There are 120 slots, of which 20 slots will be dedicated specifically for individuals deemed Incompetent to Stand Trial and are granted diversion under Assembly Bill (AB) 1810.
  • Intensive Full-Service Partnership program includes team-based comprehensive outpatient services aimed at treating and improving behavioral health symptoms and dysfunction in the least restrictive and least intrusive manner. The program will serve 600 clients including 400 adults, 100 youth (ages 6-15) and 100 transitional aged youth, ages 16-25.
  • In-Home Outreach Teams provides intensive outreach and engagement, mental health screening, in-home intervention and family education and links individuals who are not voluntarily engaging in services to treatment. The program will serve transitional age youth, adults and older adults with serious mental illness and substance use disorders.
  • Wellness and Recovery Medication Services (WARMS) was initially piloted in County-operated mental health clinics and is fully implemented at the Downtown Mental Health and Narvaez Clinics. WARMS supports clients in maintaining functionality with minimal intervention. For this lower level of care, clients continue to receive an annual mental health assessment, ongoing treatment planning and limited case management.

To access these services, Santa Clara County residents should call the Mental Health Services Call Center at 1-800-704-0900. This line is available 24/7.

Key mental health statistics include:

  • 1 in 5 adults in the United States lives with a mental health condition.
  • 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in the United States lives with a serious mental illness.
  • 60 million people in the United States face the day-to-day reality of living with a mental illness.
  • Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75 percent by age 24, but early intervention programs can help.
  • Additional facts are available at Mental Health by the Numbers.

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