Sacramento County – Mental Health Crisis Intervention


Mental Health Crisis Intervention

Posted: July 24, 2002




Sacramento County has a full array of community mental health services available primarily during normal weekday business hours. For adults, four geographically based Regional Support Team (RST) clinics provide these outpatient services. The procedure to access emergency or crisis intervention RST services is found by calling that agency’s main number at any time. Additionally, the County Mental Health Treatment Center operates 24 hours, 365 days a year. The Treatment Center has a Crisis Clinic where families and individuals can “walk-in” for emergency intervention when a crisis cannot wait for a routine appointment elsewhere in the system of care. The Crisis Clinic also evaluates involuntary clients brought in by police, sheriffs, a crisis evaluation team or ambulance. The clinic’s evaluators determine the nature of the crisis and its acuity. The evaluator also determines the individual’s ability to return to the community to seek voluntary outpatient follow-up, the appropriateness of a Crisis Residential program placement, or the need for ongoing involuntary care. During weekends, holidays or after the hours of the community treatment sites, calls to the Crisis Center at 732-3637 will reach someone knowledgeable of local crisis intervention resources.

Specialty Services

Additionally there are specialty services providing a limited degree of crisis intervention in the community. The MedClinic/Geriatric Network evaluates elderly individuals suffering from acute mental health problems. Two of the local private inpatient facilities also have crisis teams able to evaluate individuals in the community.


The crisis clinic has a specialty evaluation team for children, called the Minor Emergency Response Team (MERT), which is located within the Treatment Center at 2150 Stockton Blvd. MERT Mental health assessments and crisis services to children and adolescents are provided by an interdisciplinary team of skilled professionals including nurses, counselors and psychiatrists. Clinical and diagnostic services from MERT are available around the clock on a walk-in basis for children and families in the Sacramento community. The staff assess whether children in crisis need hospital care or outpatient services. In addition to providing triage and crisis stabilization services the MERT team receives many calls from concerned parents and caretakers. Support and guidance are available from the MERT staff from 7:00am to 11:00pm at (916) 875-1113 or (916) 875-1114.

Dr. Joe Sison provides psychiatric leadership of the MERT team, with additional psychiatric services contracted through the U.C.D. Dept. of Psychiatry. When hospitalization is necessary MERT staff coordinate the process and arrange for the minor to be transferred to a local inpatient unit. Discharge planning and collaboration occurs between the MERT staff and the many community based organizations that provide services to the children and families of Sacramento County.

A broad continuum of care is available within the Sacramento community for children and families in need of mental health services and support. Outpatient individual, family and group therapies as well as other evaluative and treatment services are available. These treatment services are linked by the MERT staff in a timely fashion with final authorization and coordination done by the Child & Family Access Team. The Access Team matches convenient and accessible culturally competent services to the client and family.

Many children assessed by MERT do not need hospitalization, yet due to current stressors at home or school are not immediately ready to return to their parent’s care. The Mental Health Division contracts with a local foster care agency (TRIAD) that provides short-term respite care/foster treatment in a highly specialized home environment. The MERT program authorizes these short-term placements with the approval and cooperation of parents or caretakers. In general, placed children stay one to two weeks before returning home, with an attempt to maintain school attendance as well as continue current family services. These families receive case management and support helping them to reunify after the short placement.

Granite Regional Park Children and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic

Dr. Joe Sison also oversees the Granite Regional Park Children and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic, which provides non-emergency psychiatric, psychological and medication assessments. This clinic is located at 3331 Power Inn Road, along with many other Sacramento County children’s mental health programs. Their interdisciplinary team including a pediatrician and nursing staff along with psychiatry and psychology staff, is available for screening, testing and consultation of eligible children. Services for this clinic are authorized by the Child and Family Access Team, which also operates from the Granite Regional Park site.

Child Access Team

The Access Team screens for eligibility and serves as the initial entry point for mental health services and assessments. Over 70 contracted programs and a dozen County run programs provide services. The Child Access Team may be reached at (916) 875-9980 or FAX (916) 875-9970.

SAFE Advocacy

Throughout our system of care the parent’s voice and perspective is a valued component of the treatment plan and development of services. To strengthen and ensure this voice, a team of advocates (parents, family members, as well as young adults) is employed by individual community based organizations as well as through the County operated programs. Advocates presence empowers families and children to make strength based and culturally competent decisions about their own lives and course of treatment. Family input is encouraged at all levels of policy and program development as a core mission of the Division of Mental Health. Advocates provide a wide array of support services. Parent self-help groups, coaching, training and individual support are available through this highly motivated team. To speak with an advocate or to obtain additional information about this program or its services call the Sacramento Advocacy for Family Empowerment (SAFE). SAFE may be reached at (916) 875-4182.

Other Resources

Whenever a crisis is developing, the primary agency providing services to the client should be contacted. If that resource is not available or the individual has no service provider, the following list of agencies can be used to aid in an intervention.

CHW/Geriatric Network (elderly) 648-2800

Volunteers of America (homeless) 442-3691

Mental Health Treatment Center -Crisis line 732-3637

Suicide Prevention Services 368-3111

Sacramento City Police (city) 911 or 264-5151

Sacramento Sheriff (county) 911 or 874-5115

Project HOPE (homeless 8-5 M-F) 448-5621×30

Author: Staff

Sacramento County – Mental Health Crisis Intervention

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