The following is a narrative published by Mendocino County’s 2nd District Supervisor Mo Mulheren and shared on this platform with her permission:
We so rarely hear stories of things going right I just wanted to share with you my experience this morning with our mental health system and a little background.
A few years ago I noticed an individual walking in and out of traffic, shouting out, etc. My first reaction was to not call law enforcement (it seemed to be intoxication or mental health related) and I spent a very frustrating half hour on the phone with the Crisis line while no one responded.
This morning I went out to breakfast Downtown with my youngest daughter and there was a young lady out front that from my first guess appeared to be under the influence. While we waited inside she seemed to be making some customers uncomfortable, others pointed and laughed and I thought I’d see what she needed help with and hopefully move her along to where she needed to be. I went out to talk to her and she said she was there to do her laundry. I said ok well you can’t do that here, you need to go down to Building Bridges and they can help you. Again in my mind, I’m trying to get her to someone other than law enforcement. They have other things to do and this person was not breaking any laws. She took off South and I went back inside.
A few minutes later she came back and started changing her clothes in front of the restaurant so again I went out and asked her what she needed. As I asked her her name and started a conversation about where she’s from she mentioned something about being off her meds (light bulb moment right because I’m not trained to know the difference.) So I called the Crisis line and got no response.
I calmly called UPD Dispatch and explained that I was outside of a restaurant with a young lady that appeared to be having mental health issues and was there a crisis worker on today? The dispatcher immediately said, “I’ll send an officer and call crisis right now”. Within minutes an officer arrived within 5 minutes our crisis worker was there. They both spoke calmly and worked with this young woman until UPD left and she went with the crisis worker.
While I’m not sure of this young woman’s next steps, I can say that I’m beyond moved at the work that County Mental Health and our Law Enforcement have been able to come to in their collaboration.
When I came back in my daughter said “Mom that was so embarrassing that’s not your job”. And I said “I know babe but she needed help and it is kinda my job.” She said “No, your job is meetings.” And I said “No, my job is to help people. “
Beautiful work UPD and Mendo Crisis. Can’t thank you enough for your professionalism.
Beautiful! Thanks, Mo!
Sheriff kendall started the duel response team last year with one worker paired with a deputy. This has grown to 3 behavioral health workers partnered with Deputy Sheriffs and the Ukiah Police department. I heard him discuss this plan last year in a MAC meeting and it looks like this is really paying off.
My job is to help people!
Wow, a true human response.