As of last week, a new program from the County of Santa Clara has begun providing temporary court-ordered outpatient care to at-risk individuals suffering from severe mental illness. These individuals may have refused treatment in the past or may not believe they need it in the present. They may also be considered to pose a risk to their community absent supervision.
It’s called Laura’s Law, aka the Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program. Said a press release put out by the County, “AOT treatment consists of intensive individual and group clinical services, peer support, intensive case management, housing assistance, 24/7 clinical crisis support and medicine evaluation. It does not mandate medication or inpatient treatment.”
The relatives, loved ones, or case workers of a given person can refer that person to the program. Care is provided on a temporary basis, until clients can navigate treatment on their own.
Said County of Santa Clara Director of Behavioral Health Services Sherri Terao, “We are very excited to offer this new program to assist some of the most vulnerable in our community, and eager to see positive outcomes for clients served as well as relief for their loved ones.”
To launch the program, Santa Clara County created 11 new jobs. The roles include social workers, support staff, and a psychologist. In its initial phase, AOT is anticipated to serve about 50 clients. Eligible clients (click this link for the full criteria) must be age 18 or older and experiencing severe mental illness. In addition, per a clinical evaluation, they must be unlikely to survive on their own. Additionally, eligible clients must have shown noncompliance with or refusal to participate in treatment in the past.
Community members interested in setting up referrals to AOT can phone the Behavioral Health Call Center: 1-800-704-0900. AOT team members can be reached by clicking option #7.