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San Mateo launches program to address mental health emergencies

mental health program

By Pamela Cruz. Peninsula 360 Press [P360P] / Bay City News
Behavioral health clinicians will accompany law enforcement in certain emergency responses in San Mateo County's four largest cities

Starting next week, a pilot program will be established to prevent people experiencing a mental health crisis from ending up in jail or emergency rooms.

The two-year program launches Monday in Daly City, Redwood City, San Mateo and South San Francisco after the county Board of Supervisors and city councils in the four cities approved it earlier this year with the goal of ensuring that at-risk situations can be resolved, and that people in crisis, as well as first responders, can stay safe.

StarVista, a San Carlos-based nonprofit organization, contracted with the county to train and supervise physicians who will work with police departments in the four cities. 

Thus, dispatches will deploy physicians along with police officers in cases of mental or behavioral health crises.

San Mateo County's program is one of many being developed in the Bay Area and the nation as jurisdictions attempt to prevent violent interactions between law enforcement and people in crisis.

"The county is proud to support such an important and necessary intervention that supports the safety of people in crisis and those around them," said County Administrator Mike Callagy. "This provides another option for those in need of mental health care in lieu of incarceration or hospitalization."

The two-year program is expected to cost approximately $1.5 million, with the four cities and the county contributing funding.

You may be interested in: Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Gives $7 Million to San Mateo Organizations

Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.


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