Orange County Bolsters Mental Health Support Services
By: First District Supervisor Andrew Do
Orange County is bolstering its non-crisis mental health support hotline after experiencing a 56 percent surge in non-emergency calls last year.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors approved a new contract today that will provide more than a half-million dollars in funding for OC Warmline, a free and confidential non-crisis service for residents that are experiencing a mental health problem or behavioral health issue.
“If you’re experiencing a mental health challenge, pick up the phone and call OC Warmline,” urged Supervisor Andrew Do, Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. “The best way to prevent a crisis is to address mental health issues at the earliest possible stage.”
During the 2016-17 fiscal year, OC Warmline experienced a 56 percent surge in calls. That increase came on the heels of 19% increase in call volume during the previous year.
Today, Orange County Supervisors allocated $536,566 in state Mental Health Services Act funds for the program’s operations in the upcoming fiscal year. Under the renewed agreement, NAMI Orange County will provide non-crisis telephone, live chat and texting services to any Orange County resident needing support for behavioral health issues.
Services are provided by trained staff or volunteers with a similar lived experience as the caller. The service is available weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 a.m. and from 10 a.m-3 a.m. on weekends. All incoming calls are screened for imminent safety concerns and are immediately linked to the suicide prevention services, when appropriate.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health or substance abuse issue, here are three ways to get help from OC Warmline:
“Orange County is following through on our promise to make it easier for families to access the right mental health services when they need it,” said Supervisor Do.
Last month, the County approved Chairman Andrew Do’s request for an audit of more than $219 million in mental health spending in an effort to improve programs and better coordinate services with the county’s homeless response.