Albany Hosts Presentation on Mental Health Crisis Teams

Alameda County Behavioral Health Care logoThe Albany Social and Economic Justice Commission featured Stephanie Lewis, Division Director for Crisis Services at Alameda County Behavioral Health Care, who gave a presentation on mental health crisis services in Albany at the commission’s July 6th meeting.

She said mobile crisis teams respond to calls concerning mental health crises. Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services have three types of mobile crisis teams:

  • MCT (Mobile Crisis Teams) are made up of two clinicians; MCTs are available across Alameda County
  • MET (Mobile Evaluation Teams) are made up of one clinician and one officer; METs are only available in Oakland and Hayward as of now.
  • CATT (Community Assessment and Transport Teams) are made up of one clinician and an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). CATTs are available countywide.

All mobile crisis teams offer crisis interventions, which can include providing assessment for hospitalization, de-escalation, diversion, and information. “Diversion” means connecting an individual having a mental health crisis who does not qualify for hospitalization with an appropriate level of care.

All teams can offer referrals a wide range of mental health and other services, including 5150/5585 assessments. 5150/5585 codes allow an individual who is experiencing a mental health crisis to be referred to a psychiatric hospital without their consent if they pose a significant danger to themselves or others. 5150 codes are for adults while 5585 codes are for children. In addition, CATT also provides transportation.

All three types of teams are dispatched through 911, and MCT and MET are also dispatched through the number (510) 981-5600.

Alameda County Behavioral Health Care (ACBH) also has outreach and engagement teams made up of people who have had similar mental health experiences. The goal of these teams is to connect and encourage people who are not currently connected to care.

There are three types of Outreach and Engagement Teams:

  • Community Connections: field outreach to homeless individuals. The team helps them assess what they need and connect them to care, especially homeless programs, mental health services, primary care, and substance use treatment.
  • Familiar Faces: phone and field outreach for individuals who frequently make contact with crisis mental health services, especially those who have low participation in voluntary services. The team’s goal is engaging with folks, finding out what care they need, and redirecting them from crisis services to longer term care.
  • Post crisis follow-up/crisis connect: Telephonic outreach to individuals 24-48 hours after contact with mobile crisis teams or psychiatric emergencies services (PES) at John George Psychiatric Hospital, Willow Rock, and Oakland Children’s Hospital. The team also helps people who are not admitted into the hospital but referred somewhere else and encourages and helps them to find care.

ACBH also has geriatric assessment and response team, or GART, which provides services to individuals 55 and older and aims to resolve mental health needs within 50 days by connecting them to care.

GART services include:
– Crisis intervention
– Evaluation and assessment
– Consultation
– Short-term case management
– Brief therapy
– Linkage to long term care and/or medication support
– Community outreach and education
– Family support and education

GART’s values are independence, alternatives to hospitalization, and integrated approaches to care. They can be reached 8am-6pm for referrals and consultation through the ACBH number or through 911 in an emergency.

ACBH mental health crisis services can be called by anyone who is having or notices someone else having a mental health crisis. If you call 911 for this purpose, tell them that it is a mental health call.

To learn more visit

– Jaden Shochet


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