Monday, April 23 , 2018, 12:27 am | Fog/Mist 56º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Sports

Santa Barbara County Buys Santa Maria Property for Mental-Health Crisis Services

Agnes Avenue building will serve patients in a new North County crisis-stabilization unit

Santa Barbara County purchased this building at 116 W. Agnes Ave. to serve as a facility for people in the midst of mental-health crises.
Santa Barbara County purchased this building at 116 W. Agnes Ave. to serve as a facility for people in the midst of mental-health crises. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo )

About 700 calls from people in mental health crisis in Santa Maria were placed to the county’s Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Department last year.

The need to help people in crisis is an urgent one, and the purchase of a building in Santa Maria may help the county better reach out.

Thanks to some grant monies that were awarded in 2014, a 3,100-square-foot building has been purchased for a new crisis stabilization unit.

County officials have described the the type of care the unit will offer as a sort of “urgent care” for people in mental health crisis. 

Patients could stay for up to 23 hours while receiving treatment and medication from medical staff, with capacity for eight people at a time. 

The system is designed to intervene with people earlier, to prevent them from getting to the mental-health-crisis stage where they end up in a local emergency room or another restrictive setting.

A counterpart was opened in South County last November, and that location admitted its first patients last week.

The North County building is located at 116 West Agnes, with a parking lot next door, and was purchased for $465,000.

Noozhawk spoke with ADMHS Director Alice Gleghorn about the purchase, which is expected to be finalized on Tuesday before the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

“There’s a large need in North County. We want to bring this resource so people can avoid hospitalization,” she said.

The building in Santa Maria is being purchased because the department was able to save so much money by rehabilitating the building instead of purchasing a new one in South County, she said.

“Since that’s a county-owned building, the cost of developing that was a lot less expensive than we expected,” she said.

Gleghorn estimated the move saved the county over a $1 million, and the department was able to use that surplus in the Agnes Avenue purchase.

The state grant restricted the money to go toward capital expenses, such as remodeling an existing building or purchasing a space.

After much looking, the building was chosen because it’s relatively close to Marian Regional Medical Center, where many of the patients may be referred from.

News of the project concerned some of the building’s neighbors, who showed up at Santa Maria Planning Commission meeting in Nov. 2015.

The commission ultimately approved the project with a 3-2 vote.

Gleghorn said that the department respects nearby residents and also wants to improve the property.

“We have every intention of being a good neighbor,” she said.

Improvements to the building’s exterior will likely begin soon, though Gleghorn said she’s not expecting to have anything done by the end of June.

The building may also be set up in such  a away that half of the beds could be accessible for children in mental health crisis.

Admitting children and young people under 18 would fill a need in the area, since no other children’s crisis units operate in the area, she said.

“We’re really excited to bring this resource,” she said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >