The city of Berkeley has launched a new daytime mental health crisis line designed to help those in need and provide an alternative to police response to such calls.
The new crisis line, announced Sept. 13, will be staffed on weekdays by experienced mental health professionals, city officials said.
The phone line, 510-981-5244, will offer support, consultation and resources to people having uncomfortable thoughts or emotions, or life challenges, city officials said.
Trained counselors will be available to talk and connect callers to the right resources, and determine if an immediate in-person evaluation for safety is needed.
The crisis line, to be staffed Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., is a pilot program within the Berkeley Mental Health Division funded by the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission.
The crisis line program is the result of a study in recent years showing that having police officers who are skilled at working with people in crisis is important. The assessment also identified a need for more mental health crisis response services to be one more alternative to law enforcement.
Outside of the crisis line hours of operation, help is available to those in crisis at the Berkeley Mental Health Clinic and by phone. Those needing resources available can:
• Visit the Berkeley Mental Health Clinic at 1521 University Ave., Monday through Thursday. 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
• Call the Berkeley Mental Health’s Crisis, Assessment and Triage team at 510-981-5244, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Call the Mobile Crisis Team every day, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., by calling the police non-emergency number at 510-981-5900 or by leaving a voicemail at 510-981-5254.
• Call the 24-hour crisis line for immediate support through Crisis Support Services of Alameda County at 800-309-2131.
• Call the Alameda County ACCESS (Acute Crisis Care and Evaluation for Systemwide Services) Program for questions about mental health services and eligibility at 800-491-9099, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.