On September 16, 2021, the City of Huntington Beach, in partnership with Be Well OC, launched Orange County’s first mobile mental health response program, known as Be Well OC in Huntington Beach. Be Well OC in Huntington Beach is a mobile response team, composed of two crisis counselors who deliver in-community assessment and stabilization to residents experiencing mental health and substance use challenges, as well as other concerns that require a non-emergency response.
“In Huntington Beach, our dispatch center receives nearly 15,000 calls annually for mental health services. It’s become clear that our City needs to become a part of the solution,” said Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr. “Huntington Beach has taken the bold step to be the first city in Orange County to provide mobile response units that will deliver immediate mental health services throughout the community. There’s nothing more important than supporting the health and well-being of our residents, and we’re committed to walking alongside them through this new program.”
Be Well OC in Huntington Beach supplements existing City services without duplication. Therefore, these services help free up law enforcement officers to focus on crime prevention, proactive law enforcement, and quality of life issues, while also enabling officers to be more readily available for in-progress calls in which they are needed most urgently. In addition, the Be Well OC program also provides added services including referrals, transportation to services, and additional follow-up support and case management.
“One in five adults experience a mental health challenge every year. For many, it’s hard to find the right help at the right time in the right place,” said Marshall Moncrief, CEO of Be Well OC. “This program is designed to bring the right support, when it’s needed, directly to the person in need. This will improve outcomes for the community and support law enforcement and EMS so they can focus on calls where they are needed most. A better experience for everyone while lowering costs.”
The Be Well OC team is prepared to help with many non-emergency and non-medical situations, which may include:
- Mental health challenges
- Suicidal ideation
- Drug and alcohol use and addiction
- Non-violent domestic issues and disputes
- Welfare checks
- Death notifications
- Public assistance including lack of basic needs (food, shelter, water, clothing), failure to conduct basic self-hygiene, failure to thrive
- Homelessness, in conjunction/collaboration with the Huntington Beach Homeless Task Force
Currently, Be Well OC in Huntington Beach is available seven-days a week, 12-hours per day, and the City of Huntington Beach plans to expand this service to 24-hour coverage by Winter 2021-22. When an individual calls 911 or the non-emergency line, the dispatcher will triage the call and deploy the Be Well OC team when applicable. Additionally, Police and Fire personnel may request Be Well OC assistance for pertinent incidents.
Approve selection of Be Well OC (Mind OC) as service provider for the City’s Mobile Crisis Response Program for select mental health calls for service