|We hope all of you are doing as well as can be. We have some updates for you about our MH First program and Oakland’s Reimagining Public Safety Task Force.|
Have you seen our MH First billboards up around Downtown Oakland?!
By now, we are pretty sure you have heard about MH First (MH1) — Oakland’s first and only non 9-1-1 crisis response line for mental health, substance use and domestic violence. And we need your help to make sure the rest of Oakland knows about it too!
We launched a GoFundMe 4 days ago to help fund our billboards, and since then 89 donors have generously contributed over $4000! The community support has been amazing, but we have a little over $8,000 left to go. If we hit our fundraising goal, we may be able to keep them up longer!
Can you pitch in today to help us get the word out about MH First?
If you haven’t seen them yet, you can check them out at 27th Street & Telegraph, Northgate & West Grand Ave, and on the Nimitz Freeway above 23rd Ave. When our billboards dropped, we also got some awesome coverage on the local NBC news, which reached potentially thousands of more people!
We launched MH First Oakland last August. Since then every weekend a core team of 12 volunteers are on call, ready to respond to psychiatric emergencies, substance use support requests, and domestic violence situations. MH First is available from 8 pm to 8 am, Fridays & Saturdays, covering the hours when traditional mental health hotlines are closed.
A mental health crisis should not be a death sentence.
MH First is a real and concrete example of what moving away from a dependency on law enforcement looks like in practice. The program is led by community organizers and trained professionals with effectively no support from the State.
ALSO: If you want to be a part of this groundbreaking program to destigmatize and decriminalize crisis response, we also have a training coming up for BIPOC community members on Saturday, February 27 at 10 a.m. — and the registration deadline is TOMORROW!
“We launched MH First in Oakland because it’s not safe to call the police when our community is experiencing a mental health crisis. This free service is available to anyone during times when traditional mental health hotlines are switched off. This is what reinvesting in our community looks like in practice. We take care of us.”
– Cat Brooks, co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project