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State Sen. Susan Eggman called 911 on her way to the Capitol earlier this month because a person was standing in the road pouring water on their head in the middle of the turn lane. It’s something the Democrat said she’s inside a lot on her drive between her home in Stockton and her job in Sacramento: people with mental illness so severe they can’t keep themselves safe.

Right now, calling the police is the only option many people have to try to get help for someone struggling with severe mental illness. As a result, many land in emergency rooms and jails and don’t get the care they need, Eggman said. A proposal from Gov. Gavin Newsom that Eggman is shepherding through the Legislature would create a new avenue to help them.

The plan would create a system called Care Court that would allow for family, community members, probation officers and others to refer people for services if they have schizophrenia or another mental illness. People could also be brought into the system if they are suspected of a crime or about to be released from an involuntary hold at a psychiatric facility.

“We haven’t been able to reach a lot of those folks,” said Eggman. “Care Court will provide a different on-ramp.”

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