Cutting from the bottom - Page 3

Newsom's mental health budget would trigger federal funding loss, reducing treatment to the most severe cases by a third


Since founding the agency nearly 30 years ago, Fariello has worked with the city to implement innovative techniques in treating San Francisco's highest users of expensive psychiatric emergency services. And it has been consistently successful. In a review last year of 15 similar programs conducted by the DPH, Citywide received an average 92.1 out of 100, the highest score. It scored a 4.0 out of 4.0 on another recent program review.

Several divisions within Citywide contribute to its inclusive approach to mental health services. Citywide's forensics program works exclusively with clients involved in the criminal justice system. Community Focus provides culturally sensitive therapy in several languages. The Linkage Team stabilizes emergency psychiatric patients from SFGH.

Employment support for Citywide clients helps them get and retain jobs, emblematic of the entire agency's goal of treating clients as complete people, not just mental health patients. "What we've found out is that people who have an investment in purposeful activity have an investment in getting better," Fariello said. "A lot of clients have a notion that their career is being a mental health client. What we're trying to do is change that."

Citywide supported employment services supervisor Greg Jarasitis told a story of one client who said she liked her job as a bookkeeper because while she was at work she felt like a "normy," then added: "These are people who have been marginalized for so long." *

Get involved: The Board of Supervisors holds a public comment hearing on the deep proposed health cuts, as state law requires, June 15 at 3 p.m. in Board Chambers at City Hall. The board's Budget and Finance Committee departmental hearings for the DPH are scheduled for June 21 and June 28.