The first 911 dispatcher from Bakersfield charged with providing mental health care | News

Delfina Rojo by no means imagined going by the restoration section of psychological well being care.

However after gaining years of expertise with Kern Behavioral Well being & Restoration Companies and a bachelor’s diploma in legal justice from CSUB, Rojo now holds an inaugural Bakersfield place as a restoration specialist tasked with making 911 calls that meet sure standards. Gives psychological well being companies to the Bakersfield Police Division Name Heart.

“Psychological well being personnel might be on the lookout for various things in regulation enforcement due to our coaching,” Rojo mentioned. “It is extra about connecting with the person and directing them towards what might be most helpful to their psychological well being.”

Fernanda Ramirez, the short-term supervisor of Rojo’s unit, mentioned almost 76 p.c of calls answered by Rojo because it started in August 2021 have been backed by a psychological well being response quite than a police officer.

That success prompted plans to broaden this system, mentioned metropolis councilman Eric Arias.

Town council is looking for so as to add three extra missionaries with comparable obligations, in accordance with the proposed metropolis funds. The entire value of this system is $400,757, in accordance with a plan anticipated to be mentioned through the board assembly on June 15.

“The hope is that with these three further people on the market, we are going to present 24/7 … alternatives for any particular person going through these sorts of psychological well being crises,” Arias mentioned.

The way it works

“I can not stand this anymore. No one cares about me.”

Rojo mentioned she heard this chorus whereas answering calls. This assertion, together with the caller saying they swallowed a complete bottle of tablets, prompts her to ship the police.

However different, much less excessive conditions enable Rojo the flexibility to pay attention. Rogow mentioned some calls could last as long as half-hour and finish with referrals to varied psychological well being companies or the deployment of a cellular evaluation group.

Ramirez mentioned the cellular groups, made up of Kern BBRS workers, reply with officers to conditions the place non-police companies are wanted.

She mentioned some folks merely have to vent themselves. 911 dispatchers normally reply a name and switch the particular person to Rojo if the caller is talking shortly and never listening for directions.

Rojo mentioned she tries to reply a couple of questions when answering a name for the primary time: What’s the temper of the caller? How do they take heed to questions? What occurred earlier than they known as 911?

Ramirez, her interim supervisor, mentioned Rojo has a peaceful voice.

“It is a pure present,” Ramirez mentioned.

The supervisor observed calls starting with heightened anxiousness and slurred speech. Ramirez mentioned that Rojo then makes use of grounding strategies and the dialog ends by thanking the caller calmly Rojo. No have to ship a cellular evaluation group or police that would irritate the state of affairs.

Ramirez added that Rojo, utilizing her connection at Kern BRS, can present groups with information a few repeat caller and ship potential help.

“It is such an honor to be part of so many individuals’s lives,” mentioned Rojo, a Highland Excessive College graduate and lifelong Bakersfield resident.

‘caregiver’ quite than ‘enforcement’

Arias mentioned metropolis officers have sought to reimagine their method to varied emergencies within the wake of George Floyd’s dying and the ensuing protests. They created a psychological well being dispatcher pilot program in collaboration with BPD and Kern bhRS to measure its outcomes final yr.

Robert Beer, a spokesperson for the Division of Psychological Well being, mentioned he welcomed the addition of people tasked with offering psychological well being help.

Bourne mentioned psychological well being specialists present the “caregiver” response quite than “enforcement,” citing the instance of a resident who known as a 911 dispatcher a number of occasions a day anxious about somebody eavesdropping and controlling their minds.

He added that sending a police officer on every event to make sure his security is a possible answer, however linking that resident to a psychological well being service might result in “various methods”.

Beers mentioned that officers’ response to such conditions has decreased extra often, permitting police assets to deal with legal exercise as a substitute.

“Having somebody linked to the system (like Rojo) is essential, not just for the security of that particular person, but in addition for the security of our neighborhood generally,” Bayer mentioned.

You possibly can attain Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. It’s also possible to observe her @_ishanidesai on Twitter.