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Posted on: June 16, 2020

Neuhaus reminds residents that they can dial 311 for Mental Health support and intervention needs

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Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Commissioner of Mental Health and Social Services are reminding residents that the County’s Behavioral Health Crisis Response team, co-located on the 911 dispatcher floor at the County’s Emergency Services Center, has taken the next step in the transformation of the crisis services continuum by transitioning from 1-800-832-1200 number to the 3-digit dialing code 311.

“This service provides residents with a variety of services as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic,” Neuhaus said. “Behavioral health is an important healthcare issue and this resource plays a pivotal role in providing access to services to the public when they might be in a time of crisis. For many residents, this is a vulnerable time in their life, and 311 can assist them as we weather this storm.”

The Orange County Crisis Call Center is available to individuals who have Substance Use Disorders, Developmental Disabilities, and/or Mental Illness and their loved ones.  It is also a resource for individuals who need some emotional support or are struggling with obtaining food resources due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Call Center connects individuals to the resources they need during this unprecedented time. 

The Orange County Department of Mental Health’s Crisis Call Center is a crisis response team which provides collaborative, professional, telephone support and outreach 24-hours a day to anyone in Orange County in need of emotional support, crisis intervention, or connection to food resources by dialing 311.

Prior to the co-location of the Crisis Call Center at the Emergency Services Center, residents had to call multiple agencies to get their needs met. Co-location at the Emergency Services Center provided a centralized response center for the team and consolidated resources to better serve residents of Orange County. The creation of a 3-digit dialing code further increases the effectiveness of Orange County’s behavioral health crisis services by making it easier for individuals in need to access help while reducing the stigma associated with these needs. 

The County’s Department of Mental Health has contracted with the Mental Health Association of Orange County, Inc. to provide clinical telephonic response including the ability to screen for substance use disorders, complete New York State’s required LOCADTR tool to determine substance use disorder level of care, and schedule an appointment for individuals in need of substance use disorder treatment. If a mobile response is warranted, the call takers will dispatch the Mobile Response Team operated by Access Supports for Living, Inc. 

The Mental Health Association also has the capacity to dispatch certified peers, including three FTEs of peers through Independent Living, Inc., who are dedicated to this project, to assist individuals in connecting to, and navigating, the behavioral health system.  The Orange County Crisis Call Center follows-up with all callers to determine if their needs were met, and if appropriate, ensure engagement in treatment services.

“I want to thank County Executive Steve Neuhaus for his support of the Orange County Crisis Call Center implementation of 311,” Miller said. “The generous support of the County Executive, as well as Emergency Services Commissioner Brendan Casey and his staff, to bring the implementation of 311to fruition, ensures immediate access to screening, evaluation, and treatment on demand for the residents of Orange County.”

For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845.291.3255 or jrodriguez@orangecountygov.com.

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