Kenwood Press

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News: 05/01/2020

Psych health facility planned for Los Guilicos complex

County health officials are proposing to place a 16-bed psychiatric health facility on the Los Guilicos campus off of Sonoma Hwy. across from Oakmont.

The sprawling county property is currently home to a variety of buildings and entities, including Juvenile Hall, an emergency homeless shelter, the Valley of the Moon Children’s Center, offices for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and, until recently, also home to a summer concert series on the grounds of the historic Hood Mansion.

The facility would be housed in an existing building and run by Sacramento-based Crestwood Behavioral Health, Inc., which runs 33 mental health programs across California.

A virtual stakeholder meeting was held by county officials on April 20 with representatives of neighboring entities, such as the Oakmont senior community and St. Francis Winery, among others.

“I’m cautiously optimistic this isn’t going to be an issue,” said Steve Spanier, president of the Oakmont Village Association (OVA) board of directors. “The history of these kinds of sites is that you don’t even know they’re there.”

Spanier said that during the April 20 meeting, he was told the average stay in similar facilities is about eight days.

The OVA is organizing a virtual town hall meeting on May 5 for Oakmonters to hear presentations from county health staff and representatives from Crestwood. A question and answer period will follow.

Individuals who are having an acute mental health crisis often end up in the county’s Crisis Stabilization Unit, which can only keep people for up to 23 hours before being referred to other facilities. In general, statewide, there is a lack of inpatient beds in the mental health system.

The state-licensed Crestwood site, to be known as the Sonoma County Healing Center, would be a facility focused on helping clients stabilize, gain self reliance, and build independence with structure and support.

According to a presentation provided by the county, the healing center would create a homelike, therapeutic environment with serenity rooms, libraries, living rooms, comfort rooms and dining rooms.

“People in psychiatric crisis need to be stabilized,” said Sonoma County Department of Health Services spokesman Rohish Lal. “The Sonoma County Healing Center will provide a number of beds where we can place clients in an appropriate setting.”

It would be a locked facility, with patients being under direct supervision throughout the day.

County officials said a tentative opening date for the center is some time in the fall.

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