Redwood City hires mental health clinician to work ‘in tandem’ with police

Meet Redwood City’s new mental health clinician who will work in tandem with police

in Community

Redwood City has hired Patricia Baker as its new Community Wellness and Crisis Response Team mental health clinician.

Baker will work in tandem with police officers in responding to crisis calls as part of San Mateo County’s Community Wellness and Crisis Response Team Pilot Project. The two-year pilot program, a partnership with the County that will also have clincians operating in San Mateo, Daly City and South San Francisco, looks to deescalate 9-1-1 calls and provide care for those undergoing a mental health crisis.

City Manager Melissa Stevenson Diaz said that residents have asked the City to consider alternative service delivery models, especially regarding people who are having a mental health crisis. “As we focus on reimagining public safety services, this is a first step to improve support for a person undergoing a crisis,” she said.

Baker, who earned a Masters in Arts in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and has completed two fellowships through the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis’ Palo Alto Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program, per the City.

Her background also has included working on the first Marin County Drug Court Team representing the treatment center at CenterPoint, providing therapy to inmates at jails in Solano County, teaching DUI classes and working at the adolescent program “Insights” at StarVista in Redwood City and has conducted clinical interviews and psychological assessments for a homeless assessment project.

In her new role, Baker’s hours will be Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but her schedule may be adjusted based on community need. Aside from responding to calls for service, Baker will also offer training to the Redwood City Police Department re: behavioral health, crisis response and deescalation, said the City.

Redwood City Police Chief Dan Mulholland said the department is excited about the “enhanced service delivery” Baker brings when responding to calls related to mental health. The chief noted that in her second week of training at the police department, Baker and a patrol officer worked together to successfully deescalate a call for service from a despondent teen.

He added that he looks forward to “hearing many similar success stories involving our Community Wellness and Crisis Response.”