Alternative Crisis Response


County Spending Category
1.3 Care First, Jails Last
Federal Expenditure Category
Mental Health Services
Project Launch Date
Anticipated End Date

Project Contacts

Indicators & Metrics to Date

This project does not have any reported Indicators or Metrics

Target Populations

  • Systems Impacted Individuals
  • Systems Involved Individuals
  • Individuals Experiencing Mental Health Disorders

Project Description

The Alternative Crisis Response (ACR) project provides a focused response from the Department of Mental Health for individuals experiencing a mental health, substance use, and/or suicide-related crisis or emergency. Through the 988 call center, DMH offers mental health crisis services as a preferred alternative to the use of 9-1-1 or law enforcement involvement. The 988 Call Center is meant to be a centralized point of access where it does not matter what the need is for individuals seeking crisis services, either on their behalf or on behalf of a family member, friend, or neighbor. While this project is part of a national effort, there is a recognition that the pandemic has resulted in emotional distress among the general population.

Goals & Objectives

Goal Description Establish one phone number and call center for all mental health crises in Los Angeles county.

Objective Description 988 call center capacity is increased and maintained such that all LA County individuals are calling, texting, or chatting 988 are connected with a live agent within 20 seconds.

Activity Description Completion of a solicitation for contracted 988 crisis call center services.

Activity Description Contracting with and onboarding crisis call center providers.

Objective Description Creating interoperability across the alternative crisis response system to serve individuals experiencing a mental health crisis more effectively.

Activity Description Develop policies, procedures, and related training and communications to ensure appropriate and efficient triage and overall operations.

Activity Description Identify and utilize software that allows for interoperability across 911, 988, and the ACCESS Center.

Outcome Description o LA County would have an easy to access and widely known way for the public to seek mental health support and assistance amid a crisis, as operationalized by a dedicated telephone number to call for seeking help with a mental health emergency and mobile outreach teams available for assessment and intervention when a crisis cannot be alleviated over the telephone.

Goal Description Expand LA County’s mental health mobile crisis response services to operate on a 24/7 basis.

Objective Description By 2022, identify and develop a contract with multiple providers to deliver Mobile Crisis Outreach services.

Activity Description Completion of a solicitation for contracted Mobile Crisis Outreach Team services.

Objective Description By 2022, initiate Mobil Crises Outreach Team (MCOT) services.

Activity Description Contracting with and onboarding Mobile Crisis Outreach Team providers.

Outcome Description The number of mental health mobile crisis teams able to respond will increase by at least 100%

Goal Description Ensure that law enforcement agencies are only involved in responding to mental health crises when a public/personal safety issue is present and when there is no other option.

Objective Description Launch a communications campaign by July 2022 to ensure the public knows when to contact 911 vs. 988 related to a mental health crisis or emergency.

Activity Description To ensure that 100% percent of calls into the 988 call center are screened for an appropriate response

Activity Description 988 Call Center to Implement Mobile Crisis Prioritization screening tool and augment to include when co-response or law enforcement team is needed.

Activity Description Track and review monthly trends on law enforcement response or co-response for appropriateness of triage. Development of a checklist for MCOTs to utilize before contacting law enforcement agencies for assistance in response to mental health crises. Improve overall quality of life for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

Outcome Description The number of calls to law enforcement for assistance with mental health-related calls and crises will be decreased.

Goal Description Improve overall quality of life for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

Objective Description Mobile crisis response services capacity is increased and maintained such that at least 85% of LA County individuals needing an in-person crisis response have a mobile crisis team arrive at their location within 1 hour of the determination for an in-person response, thereby reducing prolonged emotional suffering and increasing timeliness to needed intervention and care.

Activity Description Monitor and report on average time to arrival of the MCOT team from the time of deployment.

Activity Description If the average time to arrival falls below the benchmark, DMH will determine the reason(s) and work with the team to improve response time.

Activity Description Where data sources allow, sample clients served by MCOT and the 988 Call Center for subsequent mental health treatment utilization.

Outcome Description Clients receiving telephonic crisis or MCOT services show reduced psychiatric inpatient episodes and are linked to appropriate outpatient mental health services.