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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 3:45 am | Fair 47º


Santa Barbara County Moving Forward with New South Coast Mental Health Crisis Units

Santa Barbara County is moving closer to adding much-needed treatment options for people in mental health crisis, and the Board of Supervisors will consider going out to bid to change an underutilized building into a new eight-bed crisis stabilization facility.

The county's Alcohol, Drug & Mental Health Services Department was awarded a $2.7 million grant last year from the California Health Facilities Financing Authority. Officials announced that the grant award will provide funding for two facilities and a program expansion for people in mental health crisis.

Plans have been prepared for the Crisis Stabilization Unit, and bidding for construction costs is ready to begin. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is expected to authorize going out for bids. 

The facility will be located in an existing building on the county's Calle Real Campus, in the unincorporated area west of Santa Barbara. ​ADMHS and General Services county staff were able to find an underused 6,000-square-foot facility at 305 Camino Del Remedio to house the new crisis unit.  

The building was used periodically as office space before, said Suzanne Grimmesey, chief strategy officer for the ADMHS department. 

"It's a perfect location for this type of thing," she said.

After the facility is updated, the county will place eight beds there for patients to stay up to 23 hours while receiving treatment and medication from medical staff, according to the county.

Grimmesey said the idea is to help take pressure off local emergency rooms, where people are often held for hours before they can be admitted into the county's Psychiatric Health Facility.

The facility would likely open in July, she said.

A crisis residential facility, which will house ten beds, is also in the works at a different location near Modoc Road and Hollister Avenue where people would be able to stay for a longer period of time at a lower level of intervention. Grimmesey expects that location to open in November.

Patients there would be able to receive therapy and services in a non-institutional setting, and a variety of recovery and support groups would be offered, 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.

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