The Oregon Capitol building in Salem. Photo: Chas Hundley

District 30 Rep. Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro) is one of three chief sponsors of a new bill, House Bill 2417, that would create mobile mental health crisis intervention teams and help cities and counties throughout the state establish teams of their own. 

Sollman's district covers portions of Hillsboro, North Plains, and areas just outside of Banks, including Roy, among other communities.

HB 2417 would direct the Oregon Department of Human Services to administer a program providing 50 percent matching grants of as much as $300,000 to cities and counties to fund two-person mobile crisis intervention teams consisting of an emergency medical services (EMS) provider and a mental health crisis worker.

The bill states intervention teams would rely on trauma-informed, de-escalation, and harm-reduction techniques. Some of those procedures would include — beyond conflict resolution, welfare checks, suicide threats, and substance abuse interventions — situation assessment and immediate stabilization in cases of urgent medical need or a behavioral health crisis, and transporting the individual, if necessary, for treatment.

Crisis workers would be required to hold any of the following:

--A bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology, or counseling

--A master’s degree in social work

--Be a licensed clinical social worker

--Be a professional counselor with clinical experience

--Be a licensed nurse practitioner with a specialty in psychiatric mental health

--An individual with training equivalent to the aforementioned requirements

To qualify for as much as $300,000 in matching grants, cities and counties would be required to have at least one sobering facility as defined under Oregon Statute 430.262, which requires such a facility to send a written request for registration to the Oregon Health Authority, and at least one other shelter or facility for every 65,000 residents. 

The bill also says qualifying for a grant requires that local law enforcement be willing to engage in the effort. 

Additionally, the bill would provide $10 million to pay for the grants and to fund a one-time equivalent position for the City of Eugene to provide support for the city’s already-existing mobile crisis intervention team, the bill states.

Public testimony has not yet been submitted for HB 2417 as of this story's publishing time. The bill currently sits in the House Committee on Behavioral Health. Sollman did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Washington County Mental Health Services already provides residents on-site crisis intervention, as well as telephone support and consultation, assessment for psychiatric care, and many other services. County officials did not immediately answer questions about whether it would apply for funding under HB 2417. 

If you or anyone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis please call the Washington County crisis line at 503-291-9111, or deaf and hard-of-hearing residents TDD 1-800-735-2900. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Veteran Crisis Line are 1-800-273-8255. The alcohol and drug helpline is 1-800-923-4357. The Oregon Youthline is 1-877-968-8491 or text “teen2teen” to 839863, or chat online at www.oregonyouthline.org. And the Military Helpline is 1-888-457-4838.