Crisis Now Program of Ventura County

Before coming to work in Ventura, Gilman was the
Behavioral Health Director for San Mateo County.

by Carol Leish, MA

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains”—Anne Frank

Scott Gilman, who became the new director of Ventura County Behavioral Health Department in August, 2022, said, “We have an incredible opportunity to improve Ventura County mental health crisis services using the ‘Crisis Now’ Community Planning framework. Sevet Johnson, Ph.D., identified improving mental health crisis services as one of the county’s top priorities.”

Before coming to work in Ventura, Gilman was the Behavioral Health Director for San Mateo County. Gilman also served as CEO of a community mental health and substance use-health center in Michigan.

“The Crisis Now Planning Project,” according to Gilman, “would be funded by the Mental Health Services Act ([email protected]). We’ll be able to focus on coordinating current resources into four core elements. This will include: 1) A High-tech Crisis Call Center; 2) A 24/7 Mobile Crisis Team; 3) Commitment to evidenced-based safe care practices, such as Trauma-Informed Care and Zero Suicide principles; and, 4) A multidisciplinary approach to crisis resolutions.

“The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention in 2016 produced, ‘Crisis Now: Transforming Services is Within Our Reach,’ which has been documented to be a proven strategy to crisis response with the four core elements listed above.

“The Crisis Now model enables counties to assess community crisis care needs, enhance access to care, and realizes the overall cost savings.” (Crisis Now Multi-County Innovation Plan Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission.)”

Those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call: ‘988’ (Suicide & Crisis Lifeline)

Or, locally, call the Ventura County Behavioral Health Crisis Team: ‘866-998-2343.’

“It’s important to get the help that you need in order to deal with a crisis in order to realize that you are not alone, and that your situation will improve. For further resources, visit: www.WellnessEveryDay.Org. “(‘Preventing Suicide: Connections & Community 7th Annual Forum’-‘Ventura Breeze’-September 21-October 4, 2022.)

According to Gilman, “The four phases of the Crisis Now Innovation Project are/have been: 1) (October-December, 2022) Identifying County data gathering for current crisis responses; 2) (January-February,2023) Stakeholder Engagements; 3) (February-March, 2023) Innovation Plan Project Design & Budget plan; and, 4) (April-May, 2023) Crisis Now Innovation Plan & Presentation to the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission for ongoing funding.

“The county also has plans to expand upon crisis stabilization units, along with more crisis beds. Because no two individuals in crisis are the same, we need multiple levels of care that can respond to a variety of unique situations and are not necessarily dependent on law enforcement. Our system of mental health care must also address substance abuse challenges. We know that many individuals experiencing a mental health crisis also have substance use issues. Resolving the immediate crisis is only the beginning of the journey. To ensure individuals are successful, we must continue to build our community-based treatment system so that supports are in place when needed. I believe our community is ready to come together to make this happen.”

Follow-up articles will be done in order to show the progress and changes that have been made.


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