Downtown Santa Barbara, as seen from the roof of city hall.

Using Data to Improve Mental Health Crisis Response in Santa Barbara, California

Public Sector Solutions, Health


1,000+Hours of patrol unit time saved in 2020 as a result of the analysis

50 mins

Average length of COR calls. In comparison, mental health calls involving conventional patrol units last an average of 121 mins

Social Finance partnered with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavior Wellness to integrate and analyze county-level emergency response data and measure the impact of the Co-Response (COR) program. The initiative, launched in 2020, pairs deputies trained in crisis intervention with licensed mental health clinicians or case workers, and dispatches them to respond to mental health crises.


  • Integrate and analyze COR partner data to understand the programmatic impact and the operational and fiscal implications for COR partners

The Work

  • Data integration and analysis: Integrated COR-related Behavior Wellness data and Santa Barbara Main Jail data, and cross-checked it with Sheriff’s Office dispatch data to understand the population of Santa Barbara County residents who interacted with COR in 2020 and ultimately measure the program’s impact.
    • Found that COR responded to 54% of all mental health-related 911 calls in the county in 2020, or 1,606 calls in total. Also found that COR calls required fewer personnel and required less time to resolve, an average of 50 minutes, compared to mental health calls involving conventional patrol units, which lasted an average of 121 minutes. This saved 1,000+ hours of patrol unit time in 2020.
    • Found that just 13% of Santa Barbara County residents who interacted with COR in 2020 experienced a new booking in the six months following their COR interactions.
    • Found that the average per-person service cost associated with COR increased in the six months following each interaction but this increase was largely concentrated within the first three months.

The Results

  • Social Finance used the data analysis to provide recommendations designed to improve programmatic data collection, more effectively articulate COR impact to constituents, and expand COR services.

Partners and Supporters

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