Working Together on Mental Health SF
It is no secret that we have real challenges around mental health in San Francisco, especially for so many people on our streets. We see too many people who are struggling with substance use disorder, with mental health challenges. This is unacceptable and inhumane for those who are in crisis on our streets and for everyone who lives in our City.
The data is clear. Our Department of Public Health, under our Director of Mental Health Reform, has identified 4,000 residents who are experiencing homelessness and behavioral health crises.
We know who these individuals are, and we know that we need to act now. The seriousness and urgency of this issue demands that we all work together. Simply put, it is too important an issue to let politics get in the way.
That’s why I’m proud that today, Supervisors Hillary Ronen, Matt Haney, and I announced that we have reached an agreement to implement Mental Health SF, so we can continue helping people in crisis today while also reforming our City’s behavioral health system.
We all agree we can do this in City Hall, without going to the ballot. By working together through the legislative process, we can move more quickly and with more flexibility to help those in need.
Mental Health SF will allow us to build on the work we are doing now to help people struggling on our streets, and create longer-term, system-wide reforms that help everyone who interacts with our behavioral health system.
What We Are Doing Now
We are creating more places for people to go so they don’t have to suffer on the streets. In addition to opening 1,000 new shelter beds by the end of 2020, we have already funded 212 new behavioral health beds in the last year, and we have set goal of opening hundreds more. We are also protecting the City’s Board and Care facilities that provide housing and treatment in the community, many of which are in danger of closing.
We are taking steps to help those cannot help themselves, like implementing a new conservatorship program for those who struggle with mental health and substance use disorder.
We are pursuing innovative solutions, like opening a Meth Sobering Center, so when people are in crisis, they have somewhere to go that isn’t jail or the emergency…