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CARING IN A CRISIS: Mobile Crisis Response receives more than $800,000 in funding

Community members can self dispatch the crisis team by calling 988
Posted at 5:10 PM, Apr 24, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Kern BHRS's mobile crisis response units received more than $800,000 in additional funding to support their work to help people struggling with substance abuse or a mental health crisis.

  • The teams respond to an average of 15 to 25 calls a day.
  • Those calls totaled out to 5780 from July 2023 to March 2024, and the board of supervisors approved additional funding from the Advocates for Human Potential to continue this work.
  • Officials say the more than $8 hundred thousand will go to supporting and raising awareness about this program in the community.

The Kern Behavioral Health Mobile Crisis Units respond to mental health issues all over Kern County
Beginning in 2024, people in need of these services can reach out by calling 988 or the mobile crisis hotline, and the team recently received additional funding to support their work.

Practicing mindfulness at the start of each shift prepares the mobile evaluation team to respond to high-intensity calls.

Even one of the smallest members of the team, Teddy, makes a big difference in supporting the staff before and after calls Fernanda Ramirez, a behavioral health unit supervisor, tells us.

“Crisis services is a tough position to be in because of what you see and what you hear and what we do, but the gratitude is being able to save a life a day. I think that’s why we’re all here,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez says the 988 call center dispatches the team to meet the person at their location.

“Our call takers will then do a screening to screen out any potential safety concerns, medical aid concerns, and or consent for the individual.”

The teams respond to an average of 15 to 25 calls a day.

Those calls totaled out to 5780 from July 2023 to March 2024, and the board of supervisors approved additional funding from the Advocates for Human Potential to continue this work.

“We have allocated money for things like new vehicles to help transport clients, radios to keep ourselves in communication with law enforcement," Tonya Mann, a system administrator said. "We also have some money set aside for some advertising.”

Mann says the more than $8 hundred thousand will go to supporting and raising awareness about this program in the community.

The team keeps law enforcement updated on their location because of safety concerns and on-site, they support people dealing with anything from a bad day to substance abuse to suicidal thoughts.

“We provide interventions," Ramirez said. "We provide skills, and we also provide resources or referrals that they may need to target whatever that crisis is.”

As the program continues to grow, Ramirez adds while the work is difficult it’s worth it to help people most in need.

“The big thing I do see is we’re going to be able to help out the community.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health crisis, the mobile crisis response team is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week at 988 or at 661-868-8200.


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