Sonoma County logoToday the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved the Department of Health Services (DHS) to establish a Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) called the Sonoma County Healing Center.

The PHF will be located at the former Valley of the Moon Children’s Center (VOMCC) located at 7440 Los Guilicos Road in Santa Rosa and DHS has contracted with Crestwood Behavioral Health, Inc., to operate the PHF that will provide much needed acute care psychiatric beds to County DHS. The County anticipates the PHF will open as soon as the end of 2020 or early 2021.

The addition of a PHF to the local mental health services system of care is a significant advancement for Sonoma County. Currently, residents must endure lengthy wait times to receive these services in other counties, often, which are far from home.

“The County, including DHS, and our community hospital partners Kaiser, Providence St. Joseph, and Sutter have been working for some time to establish a psychiatric health facility of our own in the community,” said Board Chair Susan Gorin, whose district also included the facility. “For far too long people in need of acute mental health services would have to leave the County to obtain them. This facility will allow people to continue to live in the community, while receiving the appropriate level of care.” She added, “I would also like to recognize our hospital partners for providing the resources to support the County to establish this facility.”

The PHF will be a 24/7 locked 16-bed facility providing short-term treatment to individuals experiencing mental illness. The establishment of the only PHF in Sonoma County will improve services and result in cost savings to the County.

The PHF will be a component of the mental health system. Patients at the PHF will receive intensive psychiatric treatment for an average of eight days. All patients will be enrolled in County mental health services, which will authorize services, transport patients to the facility and transport individuals discharged from the facility to their home or longer term treatment settings.

“Without a PHF, the County currently cannot meet demand for psychiatric inpatient hospitalization. There simply are not enough beds in the area for the amount of persons needing acute care,” said DHS Director Barbie Robinson. “The Department estimates the shortage of acute inpatient beds impacts dozens of County residents every month. In addition, there are significant impacts on our law enforcement system and hospital emergency rooms where many individuals could be better served in a PHF.”

The PHF will be operated by Crestwood Behavioral Health, which is an accredited, Sacramento-based healthcare provider, in operation for over 50 years. Crestwood is a leading provider of mental health services in California, operating 33 programs across the state.

Crestwood will provide recovery-oriented mental health services designed to meet the needs of adults, older adults and transition-age youth with mental health issues, with more than 1,800 licensed beds, in more than 24 California campuses-ranging in size from 12 to 194 beds.

To date, DHS and Crestwood have presented to local residents living near the PHF regarding the site, operation and clientele to receive services there.

This program will provide important support as individuals continue their recovery from mental illness. The focus is to help clients stabilize, gain self- reliance, build strengths, and independence with structure and support. The program utilizes psychosocial rehabilitation, healing arts, life skills, and peer providers to support stabilization and recovery.

“Establishing this program lets us take a very important step toward improving psychiatric care in Sonoma County, and hopefully better outcomes for individuals,” said Bill Carter Behavioral Health Services Division Director, DHS.