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Triage Navigator at Mercy General Hospital uses his experience to help mental health patients in the ED


When Bill Shaner encounters a mental health patient in crisis at Mercy General Hospital’s emergency department, he knows what they’re going through, because he’s been there himself. The triage navigator has experienced mental health crises. He’s been alone and homeless. And he has an incredible story of recovery.

Bill uses his life experience to approach mental health patients, gain their trust, and help connect them to care and resources, something no one else can do with as much success. “Everybody wants to tell their story, but not everyone wants to listen,” said Bill, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2002. “I help them see where they’re at and what they can be.” 

Molly Sullivan, health care reporter at The Sacramento Bee, interviewed Bill about his experience, and his job as triage navigator at TLCS, a nonprofit organization that provides mental health and supportive housing services for people with mental health challenges. The triage navigator program at Methodist Hospital, Mercy San Juan and Mercy General is a collaborative partnership between TLCS and Dignity Health and part of a county-funded program. 

You can read about Bill Shaner and the triage navigator program in The Sacramento Bee.

You can also view the story that aired on KOVR on Nov. 21 here

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