Behavioral health clinicians help Bakersfield dispatch teams

BAKERSFIELD, California (KERO) – They may not have worn the blue badge, but they are important to keep our city safe.

The behavioral health doctors in the shipping teams are quite special in Bakersfield and are already making a difference.

City Councilman Eric Arias said those who send and answer calls are not charged as much as some colleagues in their region. There is already a high turnover of senders, so they hope to keep the changes around.

“Our police are in a very difficult situation. Every day, and we know there is tremendous mental health in the community, ”said Stacy Quwahara, Director of Behavioral Health, Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.

In some cases, the Quwahara said a behavioral health doctor may be the right person to answer those calls.

“Sometimes a behavioral health worker can be there, provide training, be on the spot or on the phone, sometimes it can’t be so scary for some people.”

Right now, one of Kern BHRS’s health doctors is working with senders from the Bakersfield Police Department to take 911 calls.

“Ideally, if someone is not in an immediate crisis and does not need police to respond on the spot, they can use the behavioral health interventions we are offering. We can connect them to services and prevent some of these officers from responding to these calls.”

Quwahara said this program is pioneering.

“It simply came to our notice then. this was truly an innovative pilot. We have been invited, and it has been a great success. So BPD is proposing to add two more clinics so they have 24/7 coverage in their group. ”

As for City Councilors Eric Arias and Chis Parlier, four would be better.

Arias said working 40 hours a week for a person is not enough to take those calls.

He said he found from BPD that between 60% and 70% of incoming calls were related to health and behavioral health.

“I am pleased that 60% of these calls from the Behavioral Health Committee never reach law enforcement by the end of the day. Many of them go back to behavioral health so that the MET group, the MET group, can send what is known as the MET group to more serious situations,” he said. Councilman Eric.

This is part of what Arias calls “public safety improvements.” Also, make sure that all senders are paid for their share in keeping our citizens safe.

After visiting the city, firefighters and police senders found that city-level senders were paid 25% less than their county counterparts.

“It simply came to our notice then. It’s already a very stressful job to take these emergency calls and send the right resources, and it’s going on non-stop. “

As this initiative has a fiscal impact, Arias said they are working with the council to see how it fits into the council’s budget.

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