Adult Outpatient Treatment Pilot Program Launched Yesterday

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Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services press release:

An assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) pilot program for people in mental health crisis [launched yesterday]through a partnership with the Behavioral Health Branch of the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the nonprofit Environmental Alternatives (EA).

EA is a community-based organization that contracts with counties in Northern California to provide a range of services, including mental health and foster care.

AOT is a program for people diagnosed with a serious and persistent mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, who are in crisis or recovering from a crisis caused by mental illness and for whom voluntary services do not work.

Deputy Director of DHHS Behavioral Health Branch Jack Breazeal said individuals may be referred to AOT after multiple visits to the psychiatric hospital and/or Sempervirens prison in conjunction with an unsuccessful engagement. of the individual in traditional outpatient services.

When a person is referred to the AOT program, EA will conduct outreach activities to engage the person, and the referred person will be offered services and supports to help stabilize their mental health and overcome barriers to treatment by Classes.

Individuals may be referred to the AOT program by a qualified mental health professional, law enforcement, qualified community partners, and adults living with the referred individual. The AOT program is designed to help support and stabilize those diagnosed with serious mental illness through a less restrictive program than hospitalizations and guardianship to avoid the need for higher levels of care.

As the program kicks off, Breazeal said staff hope to have 10 people in the program at any one time with the goal of helping about 30 people in the first year. “Ultimately, it is behavioral health personnel who will be referred to EA for services, and we will reserve our limited slots for those who have repeated episodes of hospitalization and/or incarceration and who have had struggling to effectively engage in outpatient services.

The program is the result of a California state law known as Laura’s Law that allows court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment. Individuals who refuse to participate in the AOT program on their own may be invited by the courts to participate in the program. Although there are no legal ramifications for an individual’s refusal to participate, the involvement of the courts and a judge often makes it more likely that individuals will comply with treatment recommendations.

“We look forward to this program and our increased ability to help people in our community who we recognize need services but who may be reluctant to seek them out,” Breazeal said. “Working with the courts, we hope this program will provide greater opportunity and access to help individuals get the treatment they need.”

The local implementation of the program will be evaluated after the first year. Click here to learn more about the assisted outpatient treatment program.

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