Community Wellness and Crisis Response Team Program Launches: New Mental Health Clinician Partners with the Daly City Police Department
The four largest cities in San Mateo County including Daly City, San Mateo, Redwood City and South San Francisco, have partnered with San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), the nonprofit StarVista, and Stanford University’s John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities to launch the Community Wellness and Crisis Response Team (CWCRT) pilot program.
The City of Daly City welcomes the addition of Catherine Maguire, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (L.C.S.W.), as a partner to law enforcement personnel. Ms. Maguire will help de-escalate emergency 9-1-1 calls and provide specialized mental health services for individuals in crisis. She was hired at the end of October and has completed 40 hours of training through StarVista, the nonprofit contracted by County BHRS to train and supervise the mental health clinicians. She is now embedded in the Daly City Police Department.
“I am honored to serve the Daly City community and help develop this new program. I know from experience just how impactful mental health clinicians can be during responses to emergency calls for individuals in crisis. We can offer tailored care at the time these individuals need it the most,” said Ms. Maguire.
Ms. Maguire brings a vital skillset to this innovative role, with more than two decades of experience working with individuals in mental health crisis through Child Protective Services, hospitals across all departments, and over the last six years with California law enforcement agencies. Her immediate prior work implementing a new crisis intervention program will serve Daly City well.
“Our mental health clinician brings a wealth of experience helping individuals in crisis to her new role with the Daly City Police Department. We are fortunate to have found such a qualified partner to help our Department improve safety and outcomes for everyone involved in emergency response,” said Daly City Acting Police Chief John Gamez.
The CWCRT program will enhance Daly City’s emergency response services and provide an alternative to jail and hospital emergency rooms for non-violent individuals experiencing behavioral health crises. It will also place the responsibility for providing specialized care in de-escalation, disengagement, substance abuse, mental illness, suicide assessment and more with clinicians supervised by StarVista and County BHRS instead of police officers. The CWCRT program is starting at a critical time in Daly City. Last year alone, more than $100,000 was spent on emergency calls related to mental health crises.
“We know that demand for mental health services is at an all-time high. It’s why the City Council listened to our community’s feedback over the last year and voted to join this innovative mental health clinician partnership,” said Daly City Mayor Juslyn Manalo. “We want to exceed our community’s expectations for a new approach to emergency mental health services.”
Public safety 9-1-1 dispatchers will deploy Daly City’s mental health clinician along with police officers to calls with individuals suspected of experiencing mental or behavioral health crises. Once police officers determine the scene to be safe, the clinician will assess the individual and offer the best methods of immediate care.
“Daly City is taking action to ensure safer outcomes in emergency response, and we are grateful to partner with three other cities, the County and Stanford University to pilot this program in San Mateo County. Daly City strives to offer top tier services to our community members who are experiencing emergency behavioral or mental health crises,” said City Manager Shawnna Maltbie. “We look forward to working with our partners to fine tune this program over time.”
An important program element is ongoing evaluation and analysis. The John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University, will independently evaluate the intervention and assessment methods used by the clinicians and cities to help refine the program as needed.
The partner agencies will share the total two-year program cost, with the City and the County each contributing 50% of the cost of the mental health clinician assigned to Daly City. The Daly City Council unanimously voted to approve this two-year pilot program in January 2021.