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Westminster Police Join Forces With Nonprofit to Create Mental Health Mobile Response Team

Westminster Police Join Forces With Nonprofit to Create Mental Health Mobile Response Team

The Be Well Clinic in Orange, Calif., on Jan. 13, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Carol Cassis

Carol Cassis

7/17/2023

Updated: 7/21/2023

The Westminster Police Department has partnered with a local nonprofit to establish a mobile response team to provide mental health services to the community through a program that launched June 26.
Be Well OC is the nonprofit which has taken over non-life-threatening mental health calls on behalf of the city’s police department. So far, the nonprofit has responded to over 80 calls since the program’s launch.
“We can see the demonstrated need of our services just based on the sheer number of the first month of calls,” Be Well OC Vice President of Mobile Operations Kathryn Hamel told The Epoch Times.
The city voted to outsource such calls to lighten the load on law enforcement. Now, police will connect non-violent callers to staff from Be Well OC, who will respond to those in need of services.
“The Westminster Police Department is looking forward to this new partnership with Be Well OC and is excited to offer this additional service to community members, housed and unhoused,” Westminster Police Chief Darin Lenyi said in a recent statement issued by the nonprofit.
The program will run on a two-year contract for $1 million per year and comprises two crisis response team members, each working 12-hour shifts daily.
Mental health experts from the nonprofit will be responding to non-violent family disturbances, individuals threatening self-harm or suicidal ideation, those experiencing psychosis, assisting intoxicated persons, and for welfare checks on housed and unhoused individuals, and more. Other work includes comforting family members after a loved one is taken by ambulance following a medical emergency.
According to Be Well OC, the nonprofit will respond to calls in the city using a mobile response van equipped with medical gear, space to decompress, and a working station for staff on call.
Be Well OC mobile response van in Westminster, Calif., in an undated photo. (Courtesy of Be Well OC)

Be Well OC mobile response van in Westminster, Calif., in an undated photo. (Courtesy of Be Well OC)

“We are absolutely honored and thrilled to partner with the city of Westminster. I'd like to commend their leadership for their forward thinking, and those in positions of influence to bring our services to [Westminster’s] community, because we are here for the whole community,” Ms. Hamel said.
According to Ms. Hamel, the nonprofit’s responses to those in need of mental health assistance will allow for city law enforcement to address other emergencies, in turn helping to promote safety in the area.
Westminster will be the seventh city in Orange County to adopt a Be Well Mobile Response model, joining Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Garden Grove, Anaheim, and Irvine. Data from the program in each city indicates substantive usage of Be Well OC’s services.
The nonprofit reported the following statistics from each of the cities it serves:
  • 88 percent of calls did not require transport for additional care
  • 81 percent of calls did not require a co-response from law enforcement
  • Average response time: 12 minutes
  • Average time on scene: 40 minutes
  • Law enforcement partners report that the Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Team saves 10–12 hours a day of productive police time (on average).
The Be Well OC clinic in Orange, Calif., on Jan. 13, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The Be Well OC clinic in Orange, Calif., on Jan. 13, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

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Carol Cassis

Carol Cassis

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California Insider
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