Be Well OC to Bring Mobile Mental Health Services to Laguna

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Team of Crisis Intervention Specialists will Support Local Law Enforcement and First Responders with Community Mental Health and Wellness

From left to right: Laguna Beach Assistant City Manager Gavin Curran, Assistant to the City Manager Jeremy Frimond, City Manager Shohreh Dupuis, Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf, Councilmember Mark Orgill, Be Well OC Mobile Response Team Alyssa Guerrero and Frank Seitz and Mayor Bob Whalen. 

By LB Indy Staff 

Be Well OC has partnered with Laguna Beach to establish a Mobile Response Team to provide mental health and wellness to Laguna Beach. The program was approved for a two-year pilot and is set to launch on Aug. 1.

The program includes a combination of public and private funding. Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris secured $1.5 million in state funding to support the program, and the City of Laguna Beach also received $405,111 in CARES Act funds from the County to cover the City’s contribution. The program is also supported by a $200,000 donation from the Ueberroth Family Foundation, which covers the capital investment of the mobile van and initial community outreach efforts.

“Access to mental health services is a pressing need here in Orange County,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris. “I am proud to have secured $1.5 million in state budget funding to ensure that Laguna Beach has a Be Well OC Mobile Crisis Response Team available to respond and provide urgent and timely services to those who need it most.”

“For too long mental health services have been ignored in communities throughout California. The Be Well OC program will fill that gap here in Laguna Beach and help us to provide services to residents and unhoused individuals. It will also allow us to better utilize our law enforcement and fire department personnel,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen. “We are grateful to Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris for securing state funding for this two-year pilot program and to the County of Orange to contributing additional funding. We look forward to welcoming Be Well OC’s well-known blue vans to Laguna Beach and to helping address mental health in our community.”

Laguna Beach will be the sixth city in Orange County to adopt a Be Well Mobile Response model, joining Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Garden Grove, Anaheim and Irvine. The program incorporates Be Well staff into a city’s network of first responders and enables 911 dispatchers to route mental health and substance use crisis calls to the Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Team. Skilled in de-escalation, crisis intervention, counseling and mediation, the Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Team effectively addresses the client’s emotional and social well-being. If needed and wanted by the client, the team can transport them for additional care.

“We could not be more grateful to Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, the City of Laguna Beach, and Ueberroth Family Foundation for their visionary leadership in supporting the expansion of Be Well’s Mobile Response program and strengthening mental health support services in Laguna Beach,” Be Well OC CEO Marshall Moncrief said. “The Mobile Response Team in Laguna Beach will provide critical support not only to residents in need of mental health and wellness care but also to first responders and law enforcement who can better prioritize areas of highest need for police response and community safety.”

Data from the five existing pilot programs across Orange County demonstrate the value of incorporating Be Well’s Mobile Response into the City’s first response network, including: 

· 83% of calls did not require transport for additional care

· 60% of calls did not require a co-response from law enforcement

· Average response time: 14 minutes

· Average time on scene: 1.5 hours

· Law enforcement partners report that the Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Team saves 8-10 hours a day of productive police time (on average)

“We have seen that amazing things can happen when public and private partnerships come together, so we were compelled to join Be Well OC and the City of Laguna Beach in launching this mobile response program,” said Vicki Booth, President of the Peter & Ginny Ueberroth Family Foundation. “The Ueberroth Family Foundation believes strongly in the work being done by Be Well OC to create a systematic approach to solving the pervasive issue of mental health, something that everyone is affected by in some way. We have directly seen the impact the mobile response program has had in other cities, and we know this investment will pay in dividends on the impact it brings to Laguna Beach.”

Established in 1984, the Peter and Ginny Ueberroth Family Foundation has been giving back to the community for three decades. The foundation is committed to assisting community-based organizations that are effectively making a difference, believing that by assisting people to take greater responsibility for their own well-being and for the communities in which they live, a better future can be created. The foundation supports local organizations with a focus on youth programs, education, health and human services. The foundation believes in personal involvement with the organizations it supports, therefore, the majority of the funding takes place in Orange County or within the communities where directors live.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. It’s impossible to cure mental illness in Laguna Beach due to the LSD that was passed out free to everyone who is now in their 60’s & 70’s. Read “Orange Sunshine” and it will explain the mental illness epidemic that infects Laguna Beach.

  2. “Be Well OC has partnered with Laguna Beach to establish a Mobile Response Team to provide mental health and wellness to Laguna Beach. The program was approved for a two-year pilot and is set to launch on Aug. 1.”

    High hopes that this partnership program addressing mental illness/health concerns in our city proves effective and ultimately becomes permanent. Thank you City Council for approving it.

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