SAN DIEGO — A program to help people living with untreated mental health challenges is rolling out in San Diego.

Seven California counties will implement the Community, Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment Act, or CARE Act, pilot program starting Oct. 1.

During a news conference Wednesday morning, county leaders explained the program is a way to deliver mental health and substance use disorder services to Californians, many whom are homeless without treatment.

It’s a court-ordered care plan for up to 12-months and it’s a voluntary program. Participants must be 18 or older and be battling an untreated psychotic disorder like schizophrenia.

Family members, someone who resides with the person, law enforcement officers and even community organizers can petition to have an individual considered for the CARE Act.

Once the court establishes a case, a broad range of  services can be provided to the participant, including short-term stabilization medications, wellness and recovery support and connections to other social services such as housing.

There is no cost to individuals enrolled. State funding will help support San Diego County Behavioral Health Services to implement the program.