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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Nguyen

GBA Client Highlight: CCBHC Grant Prepares Clinic for Mass Shooting Response

Updated: Apr 10

The Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC), funded through the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is a specially-designated clinic that provides a comprehensive range of mental health and substance use services, with a focus on crisis intervention and patient accessibility. Since 2019, GBA has gained significant expertise in the model, which has expanded from 100 to more than 500 clinics in the U.S. in just a few years.

GBA is available to assist organizations in all aspect of the program: assessing for readiness, proposal and budget development, meeting compliance requirements, and evaluation. We have consulted with more than 20 organizations at various stages of program development and implementation. In this article, we highlight the good work of one of GBA’s long-time clients, Chinatown Service Center (CSC) of Los Angeles County. As a recent recipient of a CCBHC-IA grant, CSC was poised to handle the unforeseen, tragic events of the past year.

In January 2023, a mass shooting occurred in Monterey Park, California. The attack occurred during Lunar New Year’s Eve, in a predominately Asian American community, inside Star Dance Studio, a Chinese-owned ballroom; 11 people were killed, with nine (9) injured. The gunman then went to Lai Lai Ballroom and Studio, located in Alhambra (the city where our CCBHC is located). Alhambra also has a high concentration of Asian residents. Fortunately, the weapon was wrestled from the the gunman before he could kill anyone else. He fled the scene and was located the next day by authorities who surrounded his van; he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Meanwhile the entire community was left in chaos, fear, grief, and disbelief.

In response to the shooting, CSC mounted an immediate and comprehensive crisis response that continues today. Crisis and grief counseling was provided in the community, in-person wherever it was needed; door-to-door outreach was provided in surrounding neighborhoods to identify individuals impacted by the shooting and in need of behavioral health care; anti-hate interventions were offered, including bystander training; and several new partnerships were formed with CSC and other Asian-serving groups to ensure representation from a variety of Asian subcultures and languages.

CSC leadership attributes CCBHC funding to improving its ability to respond quickly to this massive, community-wide crisis. The CCBHC grant had supported expansion of its workforce, which meant they had the staffing in place to provide counseling and crisis intervention services to fearful, traumatized, and grief-stricken residents. Additionally, because of the grant’s stringent staff training requirements, most staff were ready to handle this mental health emergency. Moreover, because crisis intervention is one of the nine (9) core services required of the CCBHC, CSC had the structure in place to respond to crises. Having experience implementing the CCBHC program also allowed CSC to transition from an individual crisis response to a wide-scale response across multiple cities. Because the implementation of the CCBHC had prepared CSC for this tragic, unforeseen turn-of-events, it was able to respond with great force and intention.

CSC has received recognition for its good work and effective response in the aftermath of the shooting, and additional opportunities were presented to the organization, as a result. For example, CSC was invited to present on its CCBHC and the mass shooting response at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) mental health summit. At this event, held in July 2023, CSC received recognition for its dedication to improving the lives of Asian Americans in Los Angeles County, and afforded the agency nationwide opportunities in networking and experience-sharing.

Impressed by its leadership after the Lunar New Year shooting, CSC was approached by the Federal Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP) to apply for an invitation-only grant. The program provides assistance to communities affected by acts of terrorism or mass violence. CSC was asked to serve as the lead organization to establish a collaborative resiliency center to continue serving victims of the shooting. In August 2023, the MPK Hope Resiliency Center was opened in Monterey Park (the city of the mass shooting). The Resiliency Center provides case management, counseling, victim support, legal/financial support for victims, healing, therapeutic, physical, recreational, and cultural activities, and resource navigation. MPK Hope is supported by a number of organizations, including CSC, that work together to aid victims of the shooting.

When CSC was first awarded the CCBHC-IA grant, it would have been impossible to predict how its first grant year would play out. Having its services in place prior to the senseless, violent tragedy that took the lives of 11 people injured nine (9), and disrupting countless individuals and families, CSC is grateful to SAMHSA for funding its CCBHC program, and acknowledges SAMHSA’s role in affording it the ability to respond quickly and effectively to crisis, and for the additional opportunities that CSC has received by having the CCBHC funding in place.

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