A few appreciations as I leave my position as the director of Plumas County Behavioral Health (PCBH)…
Nearly four years ago I was appointed by our Board of Supervisors to be the next behavioral health director for Plumas County. I quickly realized there were community partners eager to improve how behavioral health services were delivered and the desire to partner in the delivery of these services. The school district had a need for more mental health services in the schools. In partnership, we made that happen. The social services department needed timely services delivered to children placed into the foster care system and, together, we achieved that goal. Our probation department needed services for their probationers, we collaborated to fulfill this need. Assembly Bill 1810 (AB 1810) was passed into law July 1, 2018, which paved the way to develop a diversion program targeting those with mental illness who are also involved in the criminal justice system. In partnership with the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, and the Superior Court, we developed a diversion program to address the cycle of incarceration for those with mental illness and have achieved positive results. We were the first small county in the state to develop this service.
Of the numerous partnerships PCBH developed in the past four years, I would have to say the most impactful partnership has been with the Sheriff’s department. As you may know, when someone is in psychiatric crisis the first responder is often a law enforcement officer. At the time, Patrol Commander Todd Johns worked with PCBH to develop trainings for deputies to better prepare them in responding to someone in crisis and to write a civil hold to get the person into care. He was instrumental in helping us collect data points and determine where we could best partner in the community to address psychiatric crisis. Now, Sheriff Johns has supported our efforts for jail-based mental health and medical services to achieve accreditation from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care further demonstrating his dedication to helping those who are mentally ill and have addiction issues. Lastly, Sheriff Johns has committed to continually improve community-based response to psychiatric crisis through a co-response model with PCBH.
It is my hope the next behavioral health director has the opportunity to partner with Sheriff Johns and his dedicated staff to continue our efforts to improve access to mental health and substance use treatment services for those in need.
Tony Hobson, Ph.D.