He was homeless, mentally ill and addicted to drugs. Now, he listens

NOVEMBER 13, 2017 04:15 PM

UPDATED NOVEMBER 14, 2017 08:32 AM

Bill Shaner helps mental health patients in the emergency room of Mercy General Hospital every day. He’s not a doctor or a nurse. He doesn’t prescribe medicine. He just talks to people and listens carefully.

Shaner works as a triage navigator, helping those in mental health crises who end up waiting in the emergency room for help. Mental health-related emergency department visits have swelled in Sacramento County in recent years. The navigator program was started three years ago and refers mental health patients in jails, emergency rooms and Loaves and Fishes to services and facilities where they can get treatment.


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