SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Calls to law enforcement in San Diego regarding mental health issues have risen 84 percent over the past six years, the San Diego Association of Governments reported Monday.
In 2009, there were more than 17,000 such calls, according to SANDAG's Criminal Justice Research Division. By 2015, the total was up to 31,700 after a steady annual climb in the number of mental health incidents.
SANDAG said the figures don't include calls to police for other reasons, but for which mental illness was later found to be an underlying cause.
Law enforcement representatives told SANDAG that reasons for the climb include increased drug use, greater public awareness of mental health issues, a growing number of people with such problems but no stable residence, fewer programs to help patients, a jump in the number of people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and legislative changes that resulted in incarcerated people being released and no longer taking medication.
Mental health calls can be challenging for law enforcement and tie up resources, according to SANDAG. Some jurisdictions require two officers to respond to those types of calls and extra time is usually needed for evaluation.
Officers also respond repeatedly to calls regarding the same individual, the report said.
Law enforcement representatives told SANDAG that they need more specially trained Psychiatric Emergency Response Teams, more intensive case management services available to assist those with persistent severe mental illness, expanded psychiatric services in hospital emergency departments, more programs and beds for those with mental health needs, better law enforcement training and quicker access to psychiatric evaluations for medication, among other things.
Citing figures from the county Health and Human Services Agency, the SANDAG report said 25 percent of adults in the area face a mental health challenge, and one in five children experience emotional or behavioral difficulties.
The state Department of Education updated Advanced Placement test data for schools across the state last month — five weeks after acknowledging it had posted incorrect scores for the 2015-16 school year.
A handcuffed suspect escaped from the downtown San Diego police station Sunday but was back in custody about an hour later when police surrounded him in the harbor water near the G Street Pier, police said.
A tribute to the late "Star Wars" actress Carrie Fisher was one highlight of the final day of Comic-Con International at the San Diego Convention Center.
vehicle that rolled off the right shoulder of southbound Interstate 5 south of the Border Patrol checkpoint near San Onofre State Beach sparked a fire and prompted the closure of two southbound lanes on Sunday morning, according to a California Highway Patrol incident log.
A vegetation fire near Warner Springs that spread quickly Saturday has slowed considerably Sunday and is 20 percent contained, though some residents in the area are under an evacuation warning, authorities said.
Police are investigating a mysterious death in Mission Valley. A woman reported missing was found murdered at a her office on Saturday.
Signs warning of shark in the area of Silver Strand State Beach have been posted following a report of a shark sighting Saturday morning.
It's a Comic-Con blast from the past! News 8 dug deep in the archives to see what's changed and what's stayed the same now that the convention is in its 47th year. Andrea Naversen shows us which characters were a big hit back in 1989 and still are today.