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Santa Clara County residents suffering mental health emergencies can now call for direct help through the Mobile Crisis Response Team, the county announced April 29.

Residents could previously only reach in-person mental support services through 911 or law enforcement dispatch. Police would then respond to the scene accompanied by mental health professionals.

The change allows residents to directly contact licensed therapists and clinicians who will assess their situation and determine if they should send a team to the location. The team can then decide if a law enforcement presence is necessary.

Maury Kendall, spokesman for the county’s Public Health Department, said the team launched in January 2018 and used to be only accessible by law enforcement.

The Behavioral Health Services Department will still operate its suicide and substance abuse hotline numbers, but clinicians
at the response team will also be able to dispatch intervention experts.

Health professionals will offer crisis screening, intervention, de-escalation services and referrals to other community resources. The team can be reached at 800-704-0900 by dialing “2,” and will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday
to Friday.

Anyone who needs help outside those hours can call the same number, and a clinician will connect the caller to appropriate

County health officials said callers can access more than 200 languages through a language service phone line at 800-704-0900, and interpretation services are available in Spanish, Vietnamese and other languages.

The Behavioral Health Services Department will coordinate the team’s response between law enforcement, crisis hotlines, community and family members.