East BayHealthNews

Daytime crisis line offers alternative to police response

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The city of Berkeley has launched a new daytime mental health crisis line designed to help those in need and provide an alternative to police response to such calls.

The new crisis line, announced Friday, will be staffed on weekdays by experienced mental health professionals, city officials said. The line, (510) 981-5244, will offer support, consultation and resources to people having uncomfortable thoughts or emotions, or life challenges, city officials said.

Trained counselors will be available to talk and connect callers to the right resources, and determine if an immediate in-person evaluation for safety is needed.

The crisis line, to be staffed Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., is a pilot program within the Berkeley Mental Health Division funded by the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission.

The crisis line program is the result of a study in recent years showing that having police officers who are skilled at working with people in crisis is important. The assessment also identified a need for more mental health crisis response services to be one more alternative to law enforcement.

Outside of the crisis line hours of operation, help is available to those in crisis at the Berkeley Mental Health Clinic and by phone. Those in need of mental health resources can:

  • Visit the Berkeley Mental Health Clinic at 1521 University Avenue in Berkeley Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Call the Berkeley Mental Health’s Crisis, Assessment, and Triage team at (510) 981-5244 Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call the Mobile Crisis Team every day 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., by calling the police non-emergency number at (510) 981-5900 or by leaving a voicemail at (510) 981-5254.
  • Call the 24-hour crisis line for immediate support through Crisis Support Services of Alameda County at 1-800-309-2131.
  • Call the Alameda County ACCESS (Acute Crisis Care and Evaluation for Systemwide Services) Program for questions about mental health services and eligibility at 1-800-491-9099 Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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