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East County News Service

June 9, 2016 (San Diego) -- Over the past six years, law enforcement agencies throughout the region have seen an 84 percent increase in the number of calls for service that stem from mental health issues, according to new data compiled by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Criminal Justice Research Division.

“In 2015, this type of calls exceeded 31,700, compared to 17,276 in 2009. These statistics do not reflect calls  to law enforcement for other reasons, which later were determined to be related to an underlying mental health issue in some way,” says Helen Gao, Associated Public Outreach Officer at SANDAG. While the San Diego region as a whole has increased its number of Psychiatric Emergency Response Teams (PERT), the growing calls continue to consume significant law enforcement resources. Some jurisdictions require two sworn officers to respond to mental health-related calls; additional time required is to assess the situation, and time is required to transport and supervise an individual to a licensed facility to be evaluated.

Resources are available to help those with mental illness:

•San Diego County’s Crisis Line: 888-724-7240

•The 2-1-1 resource referral service

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