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DA Stephan Sees New Stabilization Unit as Alternative to Jail for Mental Health Crises

San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan recommended this new unit be part of California’s mental health reform, and sees it as a “compassionate alternative”.

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan attended the grand opening of a community-based crisis stabilization unit in Vista recently. The DA’s office has said these units can be used by law enforcement for people experiencing a behavioral health crisis, serving as an alternative to a jail or hospital.  

This is the first time a stabilization unit has been opened on its own in the region, according to NBC7. These crisis stabilization units are designed to offer support to people who could end up at an emergency room or jail.

“Families have told me that there is no 24/7 place they can go to get help when they see that their loved one is spiraling with mental health issues,” said Stephan. “Here they can get help.” 

These crisis stabilization units are designed to offer services in a community-based setting. For the most part, CSUs take in people on a walk-in basis, and stays do not extend beyond 24 hours.

Stephan also says this unit will help smoothen out to transfer of people who are dealing with behavioral health struggles to officials trained to handle these situations.

“Law enforcement has struggled with where they can take someone to get help rather than wait in emergency rooms for hours or take them to jail,” Stephan said. “This provides that compassionate alternative.”

A third crisis stabilization unit is currently scheduled to open up in Oceanside later this year. It will be located at the North Coastal Live Well Health Center.

“This crisis stabilization center is the first of its kind in our county,” Stephan said. “We are so excited,” she continued. “And we’re hoping that this is going to be one of many to come across the county.”

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