Newport Beach Approves $ 1.2 Million Contract for Mobile Mental Health Intervention Services

Newport Beach will soon have its own mobile response team for mental health services with the approval of a $ 1.2 million contract between the city and Mind OC, the nonprofit that operates Be Well OC.

Newport Beach City Council unanimously approved the contract Tuesday night, with City Councilor Diane Dixon describing the contract as “I hope the last link – the missing link – that we can really serve the people.” … we are doing our part for Orange County.

City staff said the cost of the program was offset by an anonymous donation of $ 132,000, which is expected to fund the van and upfront installation costs. Federal grants will be used to pay $ 717,000 and the remaining difference of $ 376,000 is expected to come from funding allocated for the bridge shelter at 3175 Airway Ave., managed in partnership with neighboring Costa Mesa.

The Be Well OC partnership is expected to launch in December and will mirror the services offered at Huntington Beach, which officially launched the first mobile crisis response team with Be Well OC in September. It will initially be a one-year pilot program.

It is based on the successful Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) program in Eugene, Oregon.

The cities of Garden Grove and Irvine are also launching their own mobile teams.

City staff said crisis counselors and experienced paramedics will be able to respond to non-urgent and emergency mental health calls. Deputy city manager Carol Jacobs said Newport Beach police and firefighters receive about 4,500 calls a year for mental health services.

The Be Well van will be managed by a team of two, who will work 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Patients will be transported to local crisis centers, drug rehab centers or shelters as needed. Services will be available to the entire community, including residents and the homeless.

Once the program begins, police and firefighters should work with Be Well to determine when it is appropriate to bring them to the scene.

When not answering calls, the organization will work to tackle homelessness in Newport Beach. This population currently averages between 60 in winter and 95 in summer, and the city has experienced an increase in homelessness during the pandemic.

“We want to make sure that the person is taken care of first from a police and firefighter perspective, but sometimes our police and firefighters may ask Be Well to come in first because it’s not. a uniform, ”Jacobs said. “Sometimes uniforms tend to make people with mental health issues a little more scared and nervous than seeing someone who is not in uniform.”

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