A psychiatrist with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Dr. Shayan Rab leads a small but growing initiative in street-based treatment that is beginning to make inroads into the population who wander L.A.’s streets with untreated mental illness. They practice an emerging specialty of psychiatry that has been gaining momentum over the past decade, but is still rare. Rab and his team are attached to the teams of outreach workers, social workers, nurses and substance abuse counselors of the county’s Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement (HOME) program. They treat clients where they find them and are using innovative techniques to manage people adverse to treatment. L.A. isn’t the only city offering street-based psychiatry, Boston, Massachusetts, also offers this service. “To target people who experience chronic homelessness. We must immerse ourselves into their lives and penetrate that bubble,” said Rab. L.A. plans to expand the program.

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