San Diego

County Proposes New Behavioral Health Facility in Hillcrest

A long abandoned and overgrown building may soon make way for a $115 million mental and behavioral health hub near UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced Monday.

The rundown, county-owned building, which has been vacant for 10 years, sits on a 7.24 acre piece of land and is subject to numerous break ins and vandalism. Fletcher said he wants to transform it into the county’s hub for mental health services, providing the region with a more integrated system of care.

The proposed Central Region Behavioral Health Hub will offer services that range from crisis stabilization to psychotherapeutic rehabilitation. It would act as a receiving center for people discharged from hospitals and jails to get back on a path to recovery.

Services offered would include a detox and sobering facility, substance abuse treatment programs and outpatient services.

The facility will be the product of a partnership between UC San Diego health, San Diego County and Scripps Health.

“It’s not just a homeless problem. It’s not just a poor person problem. It’s an everybody problem,” UC San Diego Health CEO Patty Maysent said.

Several residents along Third Avenue, including a former psychiatric nurse, said they do not want the building in their backyard, voicing concerns about traffic, safety and security.

“We believe it’s worth the effort,” Scripps Health Sr. Vice President Tom Gammiere said. “Their concerns need to be voiced and we need to try to proactively address those concerns and issues as much as we can.”

“The problem is in your backyard and so, at times, the solution has to be in your backyard,” County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher told NBC 7.

The land was slated to become luxury apartments a couple of years ago but Nathan Fletcher killed that idea and moved to this health hub idea.

Maysent added, “I believe that we can do something incredible in the region if we all work together.”

The Board of Supervisors may also consider other parts of the county. Fletcher said this would be the primary behavioral health center for the county but he'd eventually like to see one in every district.

On the project's future, Fletcher said, “Oh, we’re going to get it done."

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