The County of Santa Cruz is pleased to announce the launch of the South County Mobile Emergency Response Team for Youth (MERTY), providing community and field-based crisis intervention services to youth age 21 and younger.
Santa Cruz Sentinel Announcement
Funded by a grant from the California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA), the program includes a mobile clinic staffed by a bilingual clinician and bilingual family support partner. The program provides culturally responsive and clinically appropriate services in the community, and responds quickly with urgent crisis services to help stabilize youth, support families and provide linkages to additional services. The program expands the County’s community-based crisis services with a focus on removing barriers and providing easily accessible, high-quality care.
Urgent crisis services are a priority, now more than ever, as youth struggle with the ongoing pandemic and continue to be isolated from school, peers and social interactions,” said Cassandra Eslami, South County Services & Community Engagement Director. “MERTY reduces the need for transportation or office space by providing field-based urgent response coupled with a confidential meeting space inside the behavioral health mobile office.”
Spanish-speaking youth and family who request service from the Mobile Emergency Response Team will be able to work with a bilingual staff member, in person. If Spanish-speaking staff is not available, families will be able to access live translation services over a video or phone call. The van is also accessible to people with disabilities.
To Request MERTY Services
To request MERTY services, call 1-800-952-2335 Monday-Friday between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The clinical team can provide services at safe sites including schools and other community settings, including after-school programs and faith based organizations. In addition, the County recently received another CHFFA grant of $578,973 to add a second MERTY mobile unit in North County, allowing MERTY services to cover all youth within Santa Cruz County in need of crisis mental health services.