CII's Outreach Triage Teams featured in the LA Times

July 31, 2023
Martine Singer

I’m delighted to share this piece from today’s Los Angeles Times that highlights the fine work of our Outreach Triage Teams (OTT/COTT), led by Dee Dee Hitchcock, LMFT and Kristin Miller, LCSW. The program provided de-escalation support, mental health services and resource coordination for children and adults in crisis but who did not meet criteria for psychiatric hospitalization.

OTT/COTT met the needs of so many for whom the usual crisis response system is inadequate and potentially harmful. Our staff met people on the streets or in their homes, with enough time and resources to form relationships that led to trust and openness to accept help. Sadly, though there were significant unspent funds, the county chose not to continue the program.

We learned important lessons from the 2½ -year experience, and will continue to fight for the rights and dignity of people who are suffering and, in many cases, have experienced chronic trauma. We envision broad access to an equitable behavioral health system, inclusive of trusted community-based organizations, that prioritizes preventive, comprehensive, culturally responsive, and accountable care for all individuals.

Let’s celebrate the recognition for the work of CII’s staff and others on the front lines.