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Commentary: San Diego County’s mobile crisis response teams will fill a gap in mental health services



It’s become nearly cliché to describe the United States as polarized, and recent public debate about the roles of law enforcement agencies and mental health care is an unfortunate example.

In May, with the tragic murder of George Floyd, the national conversation around these issues has included both calls to defund municipal police departments and opposing calls for the preservation of law and order.

I would argue for policy and investment discussions to be less focused on specific institutions, and more about how all our resources, collectively and with potentially changed parameters, can achieve the outcomes that we all truly value.

With respect to the handling of mental illness and emotional crisis, we know that our communities want humane care for those in need as well as ensuring public safety.

Our municipal governments need to continue moving toward more coordinated care and response across law enforcement and health care, and we need to demand that the work that governmental and service providers do, taken together, is measured against these metrics.

In San Diego County, the spirit of this approach may be best reflected through longstanding investments in the psychiatric emergency response team (PERT) program. READ MORE