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California could create new hotline for mental health calls

People who dial or text 9-8-8 would be connected with counselors to get help from mobile crisis support teams staffed with mental health professionals.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California would take a step toward having counselors instead of police respond to people experiencing mental health crises under a bill backed Monday by gun-violence prevention groups. 

People who dial or text 9-8-8 would be connected with counselors to get help from mobile crisis support teams staffed with mental health professionals.

Backers say it’s a better option than calling 9-1-1, where police are often the first responders and advocates say the situation can often rapidly turn violent. Those who still call the emergency line but report a mental health crisis would be transferred to 9-8-8.

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