Department News for week of Apr. 6 2020

May Mental Health Month Events

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Community invited to celebrate recovery

The Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) and its partners invite community members to celebrate National Recovery Month by attending the 14th Annual Recovery Happens event on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the National Orange Show, 690 S. Arrowhead Ave. (Gate 8) in San Bernardino. Recovery Happens is a free, family-friendly event designed to increase awareness of substance use disorders and celebrate the successes of those in recovery. The event will feature children’s activities, a resource fair, entertainment, community performances and refreshments, all made possible through the support of local community partners, agencies and businesses. A special tribute will take place for individuals in recovery, their families and friends, and those working in the field of prevention, substance use disorder treatment and recovery support services.

National Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and was adopted by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in 2011. This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities,” encourages communities to be socially inclusive, offering those in need of support the opportunity to seek help, lend a hand, and contribute to their community as citizens, parents, employees, students, volunteers, and leaders.

“Millions of Americans are affected by mental and substance use disorders, including our friends, family members, neighbors, and colleagues,” said DBH Director Veronica Kelley. “But the good news is that with support from family, friends and the community, people can, and do, recover. Please join DBH as we celebrate the journey towards recovery and wellness.”

DBH’s Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Services provides a full range of substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery support for communities and residents of San Bernardino County through a network of community based organizations and County-operated clinics. Through SUD Services, DBH is supporting the Countywide Vision of creating a county in which those who reside and invest can prosper and achieve well-being.

Pilot project seeks to reduce psychiatric emergency wait times

Inland Empire (I.E.) PsychPartners is an innovative pilot project, developed in collaboration with public and private agencies, designed to transform the delivery of emergency services for individuals in psychiatric crisis. Prior to the implementation of the project, the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) invites community members to learn more about the project by reviewing the draft Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Innovation Plan and providing feedback on it through the submission of a comment form, posted from Sept. 1 through Sept. 30 on

Data from a 2015 report on U.S. rural emergency departments found that in large remote, rural areas, local emergency departments commonly serve as the first-stop location for medical services.  In Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, where such areas are prevalent, this finding, coupled with a growing population and a nationwide psychiatrist shortage created lengthier emergency departments wait times for individuals experiencing a psychiatric emergency; on average, double the wait time of an individual experiencing a physical health emergency.

The I.E. PsychPartners Innovation project was developed to seek solutions to these complex issues through collaboration between DBH, Riverside County University Health Systems – Behavioral Health, and the Hospital Association of Southern California. Solutions outlined in the proposed project include using a telehealth treatment team comprised of a psychiatrist and specialized behavioral health nurse, improvements to the psychiatric workflow for emergency department doctors and staff, and training opportunities to increase awareness on regional behavioral health services and to reduce the stigma associated with needing and seeking psychiatric care.

“Through MHSA funded Innovation Projects like I.E. PsychPartners, DBH is able to develop and test new approaches to meet the needs of our diverse and growing population, especially underserved and inappropriately served populations,” said DBH Director Veronica Kelley. “Collaboration and continued focus on improving services allows for increased efficiencies and greater health outcomes for all.”


Click here to see the Draft MHSA Innovation Project Plan 2017

Brilliant Behavioral Health programs earn top honors

A Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) program that encourages and empowers clients to conduct trainings and provide support to their peers was one of a hundred nationwide county programs selected by the National Association of Counties {NACo) as a 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work. This distinction was awarded to select programs who received a 2017 NACo Achievement Award and illustrated the top innovations in county government, including increased quality of life for its residents.

In total, DBH received two of the 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work distinctions; one for its Group Facilitator Training and another for Connections. DBH’s Group Facilitator Training provides engaging workshops to empower clients with leadership skills, enhanced self-esteem and the opportunity to become class facilitators themselves. Connections serves as a centralized resource hub for behavioral health clients, connecting them with additional supportive services within DBH and the community, supporting holistic health care.

The San Bernardino County Public Defender and San Bernardino County Probation Department also each received a 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work distinction for their programs developed in collaboration with DBH. Public Defender’s Everyone SWIMS (Self Sufficient, Well-Being, In House, Mental Health, Services) program addresses the unnecessary hospitalization and incarceration of individuals with psychological distress and mental disorders, while Probation’s Custody to Community program provides supportive services to mentally ill and medically fragile offenders through coordination of services during the re-entry process from State and local custody to the community, effectively reducing homelessness and recidivism rates.

Each of the 100 Brilliant Ideas entries were selected from the top 2017 NACo Achievement Awards and according to NACo President Bryan Desloge, “can serve as examples for counties across the country.” Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Award Program is designed to recognize innovative county government programs. This year, DBH was awarded a total of six Achievement Awards ranging in category from children and youth, public safety, human services and volunteerism.

“DBH strives to be innovators in the field of behavioral health by designing services that reflect local needs and nationwide trends,” said DBH Director Veronica Kelley. “This award encourages our resolve to provide progressive and effective behavioral health care to the San Bernardino County community.”

DBH, through these recognitions, is supporting the Countywide Vision by providing behavioral health services that promote wellness, recovery and resilience in the community. Information on the Countywide Vision and on DBH can be found at