HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AGENCY
MENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT
REASON FOR REVIEW
Penal Code Section 925 authorizes the Grand Jury to conduct
inquiries into the operations, accounts and records of officers,
departments or functions of the County.
The Mental Health Department (MHD), a branch of the Health and
Human Services Agency, has operated in the County for 25 years.
Employees include 5 clerical, one of which is the office
administrator, and 5 mental health workers. A registered nurse is
shared with the Public Health Department. A contract psychiatrist has
been on staff since 1990.
The lack of a psychiatrist, living in the County, and the
disagreement of the department to the recommendations of the
1996-1997 Amador County Grand Jury, influenced the 1999-2000
Grand Jury to include this department in this year's routine
Director, Health and Human Services Agency
- Program Director, Mental Health Department
Psychiatric assistance is available on a weekly visit basis with
consultation available on a 24 hour basis.
- The 1996-1997 Amador County Grand Jury recommendation of
"direct 24 hour phone service between clients and therapist", has
been resolved by the use of beepers carried by all mental health
- All Welfare and Institution Code Section 5150 calls
(grounds for detention of someone, over 21 years of age, who is a
danger to themselves or others) are transferred to the
Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) unit in Placerville, El Dorado
County. Children 12 years of age and over are treated at Sierra Vista Hospital
in Sacramento, and children under 12 are taken to a Psychiatric
Unit in Sacramento. Help is also available to children through
the Pine Grove, Pioneer and Sutter Creek Schools.
- One half day rehabilitation for adults, 2 - 3 days per
week, has been approved and will begin once a remodel of the MHD
facility is completed.
- Acquisition of additional staff for children's services
is in progress.
- Policies and procedures are in place and staff training
has been completed to assist the County in the event of a major
- The current caseload of MHD is approximately 350. One
third of these cases are children.
- The MHD receives no income from the County. It has both
State and Federal grants and revenue from State sales taxes and
vehicle license fees. A specific grant provides $2,600 for mental
health treatment of the homeless at the homeless shelter in Jackson.
The standards and procedures reviewed appear to be in compliance
with State Standards.
The MHD should continue its efforts to enlist the services of a
full time, locally based, psychiatrist.
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