WAUKEGAN – The Lake County Sheriff’s Office announced a successful year for the Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COaST) in Lake County’s ongoing efforts to help those with mental illness.
Since beginning the initiative, sheriff’s deputies made 785 referrals to COaST, a program launched in October 2018 to support Lake County residents with mental or behavioral health illness who have law enforcement interaction. The referrals occurred during calls for service. Of the 785, COaST personnel successfully have made contact with 654 of the referrals and offered additional resources, including referrals to the Lake County Health Department and other health service providers.
“We are grateful for the collaboration with the Sheriff’s Office to address unmet behavioral health needs in Lake County,” said Sam Johnson-Maurello, director of behavioral health for the Health Department. “The real success of the COaST program is when we have been able to help people access the services that they need.”
In October 2018, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Lake County Health Department began piloting the COaST program. The COaST team consists of a specially trained Lake County Sheriff’s deputy and a Lake County Health Department licensed mental health counselor.
Within about three days of a law enforcement officer encountering a mental health interaction, COaST arranges a meeting with the individual or a “cold call” to their residence. During the meeting, COaST checks the well-being of the person and determines if they have sought any treatment or services since the initial event. COaST then provides a “warm handoff” to the Health Department, or if necessary, refers the person to appropriate services.
“Mental health initiatives like this are making a difference,” Sheriff John Idleburg said.