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Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Lake County Health Department Announce Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COaST) to Combat Mental Illness
On October 1, 2018 the Sheriff’s Office will begin a collaborative pilot program to support our residents who suffer with mental or behavioral health illness’ and have interactions with our law enforcement division. The Office has partnered with the Lake County Health Department for this project called the Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COaST). The team will consist of one deputy sheriff, Deputy James Yanecek, and one social worker. Deputy Yanecek has been a vital member of the Sheriff’s Office Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) and has been in law enforcement for 22 years.
After our law enforcement officers encounter a mental health interaction or an opioid overdose, the COaST deputy will make arrangements to meet with the individual or “cold call” their residence; approximately three days after the initial event. During that meeting, the deputy will check the well-being of the person and determine if they have sought any treatment or services since the initial event. The deputy will then offer the services of the social worker who has additional resources available and provide a “warm handoff” to the LCHD social worker. The social worker will conduct a brief assessment and if necessary begin referring the person to the appropriate community service program.
This type of program is new to Lake County - but has been quite successful in communities across the country. Communities with these types of programs have proven to reduce law enforcement interactions with people having a mental illness, they reduce the likelihood of individuals being arrested or re-arrested, and provides an overall healthy and stable environment for all.
Sheriff Mark Curran said, “This initiative will both strengthen and improve the mental health awareness and training that has already been taking place at the Sheriff’s Office. This is yet another illustration of the priority that we place on mental health support in Lake County. The COaST program will not only keep Lake County safe, but keep Lake County healthy!”