San Francisco's mayor, board of supervisors each have their own mental health proposals

San Francisco now has two competing plans to resolve the mental health crisis in the city.

Both sides agree that mental health issues are making the homeless crisis worse. Both sides agree that something has to be done and now one plan from the mayor’s office and one plan from the board of supervisors are going to be debated to see which one will be adopted.

It’s easy to find evidence of those in crisis on the streets of San Francisco. Now, the mayor has unveiled what she says is a comprehensive plan to treat those battling mental health issues. It’s called UrgentCare SF.

The mayor’s plan aims to reduce red tape, increase the number of patients who can be seen, find and retain top talent in mental health care and eventually provide housing options for those in need.

San Francisco's Director of Mental Health Reform said the plan is aimed at helping thousands of patients in need. 

"Our city is taking unprecedented steps to begin addressing those issues and the people that are facing the crisis of homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse use," said Dr. Anton Nigusse Bland, San Francisco’s Director of Mental Health Reform. 

"UgentCare SF will improve our response to those individual’s needs,” he said. 
The city's Director of Public Health said the plan has the scope needed to begin resolving the city's ongoing homelessness and mental health crises. 

"At the end of the day, this plan will save lives and will make a meaningful difference with regard to the behavioral health crisis that we're all experiencing," said Dr. Grant Colfax from the San Francisco Department of Health.

At San Francisco General Hospital, patients and health care workers celebrated a deal that will save the adult residential facility, a resource for 32 severely mentally-ill San Franciscans. 

Just two months ago the facility was in danger of closing, but, a deal reached between unions, the Department of Public Health, the mayor and supervisors will now keep the doors open.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen has been pushing for an ambitious plan, Mental Health SF, which she said is fully formed with a source of funding already in the works. 

At this point she said the mayor’s plan is more of a goal than concrete proposals. 

"She has not identified a funding source. She has not identified when these services would come on line, how they would be coordinated and most importantly how there will be accountability,' said Supervisor Ronen.

Ronen said as recently as last Friday, the mayor’s office appeared to be working on a joint plan, but has now introduced UrgentCare SF.
The supervisor said she wants to see results and knows that could mean compromise. 

"We're open and willing to come back to the negotiating table at any point as we have been since day one, we just hope she'll stay at the table with us," said Supervisor Ronen.

The debate over these two plans now kicks into high gear. The supervisors' plan, Mental Health SF, and the mayor's plan, UrgentCare SF, both just filed the necessary paperwork Tuesday to appear on the March ballot.