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SLO County receives grant for early diversion program

Posted at 6:30 PM, May 16, 2019

San Luis Obispo County’s Behavioral Health Department has been awarded a grant to help keep people with mental illness and substance use disorders out of jail.

County officials say the Behavioral Health Community Action Team (BHCAT) will provide “proactive outreach, engagement, screening and assessment for early identification of people with mental illness or substance use issues” and encourage them to get treatment before they end up getting arrested.

The program kicked off in February. The team has a yearly goal of contacting 600 people in the field and getting at least 60 of them into treatment.

The $1.6 million grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration will be spread out over five years.