Be Well OC Now Deployed in Newport Beach for Mobile Mental Health Crisis Response

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A new mobile crisis intervention program to address mental health issues in the community is up and running in Newport Beach as of this week.

The Be Well OC Mobile Crisis Response Team is working closely with the City’s public safety departments to address mental health challenges among the city’s homeless population, as well as residents and visitors who may be experiencing a mental health crisis.

While Be Well OC works with several other Orange County cities on similar programs, it is a new partnership for Newport Beach.

Under the Be Well OC program, Newport Beach now has a dedicated two-person team of experienced crisis counselors and paramedics working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. The team responds to mental health calls for service to the Police Department’s non-emergency or 911 call lines. Patients may be transported to Be Well OC’s local crisis center, or a detox facility or shelter, as needed. The service provides direct mental health intervention and will reduce the need for police and emergency medical services in these cases.

The program’s first-year cost, about $1.2 million, is being offset by an anonymous donation from a Newport Beach resident of $132,000 for the mobile van and start-up costs. Federal grants will be used to fund about $717,000, and the remaining $376,000 will come from funding currently allocated for homeless shelter operations. City staff is pursuing grants, additional donations, and other cost-sharing opportunities to offset future costs.

The Be Well OC program supplements and augments the City’s current efforts to address homelessness, which include a shelter partnership with the City of Costa Mesa, and a pilot program that is providing volunteer opportunities for individuals experiencing homelessness to learn and/or rebuild job skills and a path toward stable employment and housing.

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