WEST HOLLYWOOD—During its regular meeting on June 26, the West Hollywood City Council unanimously approved the creation of the West Hollywood Care Team, a new behavioral health crisis response program to serve the community. The Care Team is a first-of-its-kind city-county collaboration to enhance community access to crisis support and services.
The city indicated on its website the Care Team will provide crisis stabilization, safety planning, connection to community resources, and follow-up support. Services will be delivered using an approach based on harm-reduction, trauma-informed, and culturally competent practices. The Care Team will provide mobile response and will ride in unmarked passenger vehicles with no lights or sirens with the aim of providing respectful care to people in crisis. West Hollywood expects to launch the Care Team in Fall 2023 with initial operating hours from Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. By year two, the goal is to expand Care Team coverage to 24/7/365 service.
“The development and implementation of our new community-based behavioral health response team in West Hollywood is a huge step forward in meeting the needs of community members when they may be experiencing a mental health crisis,” said Mayor Sepi Shyne. “The West Hollywood Care Team will bring a whole a new level of sensitivity and a trauma-informed approach that will make our City better poised to respond to needs in way that helps stabilize situations as they occur.”
West Hollywood will contract with Sycamores, a nonprofit social service organization with expertise in providing behavioral health programs and services. Sycamores is currently a mobile crisis response contractor for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Alternative Crisis Response (ACR) system. The city will operate the West Hollywood Care Team in collaboration with the regional system to enhance community access to intensive mental health services provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health when appropriate.
Community members experiencing a behavioral health crisis will be able to call 988 to get support. 988 is the national number for the Suicide and Crisis Helpline. In the Los Angeles area, the 988 call center operator is Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. Community members utilizing this service will be able to talk to a trained counselor who will assess the mental health crisis and will provide community resources when appropriate. When the counselors on the phone determine that the crisis needs in-person support, the West Hollywood Care Team will be dispatched to respond to the caller’s location to provide services. The West Hollywood community stands to benefit from the immediate availability of crisis counseling via the 988 call center combined with the region’s added capacity to provide in-person service and care when needed.
The investment in the Care Team advances collective priorities outlined in the City’s Community Safety and Well-Being Strategy (CSWB). The CSWB Strategy helps create a safer West Hollywood community by finding ways to better connect West Hollywood’s existing social service and law enforcement programs, making it easier for individuals to access vital support and services when needed. The Care Team will be a secondary responder to West Hollywood Sheriff’s Deputies and LA County Fire personnel. The Care Team will be requested for on-scene support, when a community member needs behavioral health services.
The Care Team program will be overseen by the City’s Human Services Division and will collaborate closely with City-funded social service agencies to support community members’ access to local and regional social services programs.
For more details about the West Hollywood Care Team contact Elizabeth Anderson, West Hollywood Strategic Initiatives Program Administrator, at (323) 848-6839 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information, visit www.weho.org/careteam. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing call TTY (323) 848-6496.