County's Access and Crisis Line Receives National Accreditation

August 1, 2012 | 11:36am

San Diego County’s Access and Crisis line has received national accreditation indicating that the crisis line is an effective resource to help people who are contemplating suicide.

The Crisis Center Accreditation was awarded by the American Association of Suicidology.

“We want people who are experiencing a mental health or substance abuse issue to get help,” said Chairman Ron Roberts, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “The accreditation is validation that the partnership between the County and Optum is effective in supporting people during a crisis and linking them to community resources.”

The American Association of Suicidology examines crisis centers across the country to determine if they are using best practices established by the medical community to help people in suicidal danger. The Access and Crisis line received top scores in all areas examined during the accreditation process, including: administration and organizational structure; how services are delivered in life-threatening crises; ethical standards and practices; and how well the crisis center is integrated within the community.

“Accreditation is a sign that San Diego’s Access and Crisis Line provides high quality support to people who are contemplating suicide,” said Joan Wright, American Association of Suicidology director of crisis services accreditation and certification. “It demonstrates San Diego County’s continued commitment to helping people in need.”

The Access and Crisis line is a free 24 hour, seven days a week service that provides support and referrals to people experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis. The crisis line has been operated by Optum since 1997. Optum is an information and technology-enabled health services company that helps operate the County’s mental health and substance use Medicaid program.

“Suicide takes the life of one person in San Diego every day and it is the second leading cause of non-natural death in the County, behind drug or alcohol overdoses,” said Nick Macchione, director, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. “The accreditation of the Access and Crisis Line recognizes the stellar processes Optum has put in place to ensure those in crisis get the resources they need.”  

The Access and Crisis Line receives about 7,500 calls a month from people seeking general services or support. The crisis line is part of the County’s Live Well, San Diego! initiative to improve the health and well being of the San Diego region.

People needing immediate help should call 9-1-1. Help is also available by calling the County’s Access and Crisis Line at 888-724-7240 or visiting www.Up2SD.org.