What is the problem that needs to be addressed? Please describe how it is related to mental health.
Regional governments in Orange County, including cities and county agencies, have public comment periods during meetings. It is observed that meetings do attract people who are homeless and may have a mental illness. These venues are not equipped to provide needed services thus the individual makes a public comment, many times with significant emotion, without any mechanism for post-comment intervention/follow up.
Why is this a concern for Orange County? What can Orange County and other counties learn from this project?
County Supervisors, City Councilmembers and other elected/non-elected officials should not be expected to provide human services to individuals that appear during government meetings. Humans do not always walk into the “right door” to obtain services.
What is currently being done to resolve this problem in our county and throughout the United States? If applicable: Is it working; why or why not?
What is currently being done is providing an open comment period, giving people approximately three minutes during the open comment period with the option to provide written comment to the clerk, and moving on to the next person when time is up.
What is new or different about this project idea? Please describe how this differs from what is already being done (Question 6). Please list any research that was done on this topic.
The open questions this project can answer include: 1) Are people utilizing government meetings as a first attempt to cope/ask for help or is it their last? 2) Are people utilizing government meetings asking for help aware of how to get help through established processes? 3) Do people utilizing government meetings qualify for help currently available? 4) Do people utilizing government meetings experience excessive barriers to obtaining help?
What is the project idea? Please describe how this project will operate.
Provide licensed, trained and resource knowledgeable staff available at regional government meetings – County Supervisors, City Councils, etc – to provide resources or intervention to people who may not have help nor know how to get help. If a person needs help, then providing Just-In-Time help to include: 1) HTS/HTO/GD risk assessment 2) Immediate needs assessment: food, water, shelter, clothing, security, healthcare, sanitation, transportation, reversing social isolation 3) Bridging care plan to resources available with follow up appointment with a specific provider (care continuity) who has access to the information already provided (health record continuity) 4) Easy to understand educational materials that explain the inclusion/exclusion criteria for the many many choices available. 5) If available, informed consent information about the outcomes associated with the many, many choices available. 6) Is the underlying concern about an issue immediately impacting the individual or is the underlying concern about a future issue/trend that makes the individual feel unsafe in their community (i.e. criminalizing sleeping in a parked car, carrying a sleeping bag, eviction, priced out of rental housing, etc) 7) VI-SPDAT filing, if needed and not previously filed. Regional government bodies that allow this service into their meetings may be provided access to de-identified reports that may explain why a person is showing up to a government meeting and what deficiencies may exist in the community.
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