Monterey County

Big plans for trauma aftermath in Monterey County

Programs work to deal with trauma as soon as possible

SALINAS, Calif. - A new gang prevention program in Santa Clara County deals with trauma immediately after a violent event occurs.

Central Coast News found out it's already in Monterey County in a variety of different ways.

Jose Meza grew up in a bullet-ridden gang life style and he remembers the day he got shot in the leg.

"It was shocking to me, my family, you know everyone around me," Meza said.

The trauma of dodging gun fire and landing a 13-year prison term for armed robbery is something he wished he had dealt with sooner.

"I couldn't do it on my own," he said.

As a result, Meza joined the Transitions For Recovery and Re-entry program led by Jacqueline Simon. Their graduation rate is the second best in the state for April.

"We have a wonderful community that is really working on a full court press on dealing with these issues now more than ever before," Simon said.

But now, Monterey County's crisis team is primed and ready for patients coming into the emergency room at Natividad Medical Center often before Cal Star flies them to the Bay Area. The point is to the deal with the trauma as soon as possible.

"So we work with both the victims and sometimes the perpetrators in the emergency room situation," said Wayne Clark, the county's director of Behavioral Health.

And that strategy is expanding. Clark said the county is waiting on a state grant approval for mobile trauma response vehicles to be stationed in key spots throughout the county.

"That way we'll be able to deal with and work with law enforcement to keep things from de-escalating and not have suicide by cop kinds of situations," he said.

The grant the county is asking for is a little over $193,000, and they are expecting to hear back if the grant is approved by next Thursday.

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