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City to expand mental health, substance abuse care with 400 new treatment beds

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Thursday that the city will create 400 new treatment beds, 140 of which will open this year, for people experiencing mental health issues or substance abuse.

The beds, which will increase San Francisco’s residential treatment capacity by 20 percent, allow the city’s outreach teams such as the Street Crisis Response Teams, who respond to roughly 500 calls per month, to refer more clients to treatment facilities.

Breed said:

“This is an unprecedented expansion of our system of care and treatment for people with mental health and substance use disorders. … We are responding with the urgency that this crisis deserves, while saving millions of dollars by removing bottlenecks in the system so that people can move into lower, less costly levels of care when they are ready.”

She said:

“Each one of these placement facilities takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to make happen, but we should see the benefits for years to come.”

San Francisco’s Department of Public Health is in negotiations to acquire facilities that can house the people in need of treatment beds.

Some projects are still being designed, such as a 10-bed residential treatment facility for young adults undergoing serious mental health and substance abuse disorders, while others are slated to open this year.

The 20-bed South of Market Recover, Initiate, Support, and Engagement (SOMA RISE) Center will open this fall as part of San Francisco’s response to the drug overdose crisis. The pilot sobering center will provide space where people intoxicated on methamphetamine or other substances can monitor their health, and staff can connect them with harm reduction and other health services.

Interior view of a warehouse on 1076 Howard Street in San Francsico, Calif. before the building is transformed to house the 20-bed SOMA RISE pilot sobering center. Courtesy of San Francisco Health Network

Supervisor Matt Haney said:

“People who are mentally ill and addicted to drugs need immediate access to treatment and care. Expanding our city’s treatment beds and Street Crisis Response teams through Mental Health SF will better ensure services are available, accessible and effective.”

The supervisor added:

“Fully funding Mental Health SF was a top priority for us during this year’s budget process, and we worked together to expand much needed treatment beds, care coordination, and street intervention. These treatment beds cannot come soon enough.”

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