Alternative Crisis Response (ACR)
Individuals in L.A. County experiencing a health and human services crisis, especially related to mental health, substance use, or suicide, ought to receive an urgent and high-quality response commensurate with what they would receive via the 9-1-1 system for a physical health or public safety-related emergency.
The forthcoming 9-8-8 number for behavioral health emergency response promises to elevate behavioral health crisis/emergency services in this way, but there remains much work to be done to add needed capacity of these services, improve the coordination of crisis calls, field responses, and crisis facility care, and ensure that the 9-8-8 system is connected to and appropriately coordinated with the 9-1-1 system as needed.
Most critically, this work needs to explicitly address how current system gaps have resulted in disproportionate impacts on communities of color and the LGBTQ community, including an over-representation of individuals with mental health and substance use needs from these communities ending up in jails, on the street, and repeatedly hospitalized.
The LA County Alternative Crisis Response (ACR) project, a collaboration between the Department of Mental Health and the Chief Executive Office’s Alternatives to Incarceration Initiative, in partnership with law enforcement, fire/EMS, and other health and human services providers from around the county, is LA County’s attempt to thoughtfully address these goals as we move toward the full rollout of 9-8-8 in July 2022.