A press release from Tulare County Health and Human Services
The need for behavioral health services has drastically increased as the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the mental health of many across the country and has created new challenges for people already suffering from mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Tulare County Behavioral Health is seeing these same trends and increased calls for service here in our local communities.
Last year, Tulare County’s Behavioral Health Crisis Team responded to over 5,600 calls from individuals experiencing crisis and seeking help. The number of psychiatric hospitalizations grew drastically to 1,656 cases in 2021. The Tulare County Suicide Prevention Task Force reported 35 suicides in 2021 and 35 in the year prior. A significant number of our community members and families are feeling the impacts, and Tulare County Behavioral Health is seeking to take action.
“Isolation, quarantine, remote learning, business impacts, and physical distancing has impacted everyone, some more than others,” shared Donna Ortiz, Tulare County Behavioral Health Branch Director. “It is critical that we examine and evaluate our crisis care system, recognizing the need to address whole-community behavioral health needs.”
To respond to the growing needs locally, Tulare County Behavioral Health, in partnership with community mental health and wellness partners and stakeholders, is seeking input to help determine mental health and substance use disorder services to meet the needs of our community. The goal is to create improvements derived from recommendations to grow our infrastructure and mobilize services in crisis care.
To accomplish this, Tulare County Behavioral Health is organizing focus groups to gain feedback on what is working in our community, what is not meeting the needs, and implementing best practices for enhanced services. Anyone who has experience with the current crisis response system in the county is encouraged to participate. This includes current and former users of these services, their family members, and professionals, as well as others with interest in or knowledge of the current Mental Health Crisis Care systems in Tulare County. Participation is not limited to those receiving care but includes anyone with knowledge or experience in the fields of behavioral health and crisis care. Officials welcome all input related to experiences and ideas on this topic.
Tulare County Crisis Continuum Focus Group
April 21, 2022
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Meeting will be held virtually on Microsoft Teams at: https://tinyurl.com/TCCommunityInput
For more information, contact Joseph Hamilton, Clinic Administrator with Tulare County Behavioral Health at 559-624-7445.