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.


If I here one more person refer to our lame duck mayor and his axe man Mitch Katz as progressives, I'm going to die. Thank you Guardian for letting the truth be known, about these bungling conservatives. colin

Posted by Guest colin campbell on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 7:45 am

Thank you for this thoughtful piece on the impact of these proposed budget cuts. I am shocked and saddened to hear that the city would plan to cut services to the most unstable residents -- a move which, as your article nicely articulates, is not only inhumane but is almost guaranteed to actually increase direct costs to the city as these patients start showing up in ERs, hospitals, jails, ambulances. Citywide/Community Focus is an essential piece in the complex fabric of city's services. I hope their funding is restored immediately.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

These cuts don't make any sense. Why lose sources of federal funding? The city should be made accountable for the decision making. It's a shame the Mayor's office did not respond.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

I suffer from PTSD and am treated at New Leaf by an excellent therapist. Last I heard the budget cuts are going to limit the number of individual sessions to 20/year effective FY2011! I have made great progress in the past 4.5 years due to regular weekly sessions, and only b/c my therapist could meeet with me regularly, was my disorder finally properly diagnosed. Since that time, we have implemented a treatment plan that is highly effective. The cuts in one-to-one sessions allegedly will be replaced with an aray of group therapy options. When I am ill, I get sicker when I am in groups. Thanks Mr. Lt. Governor Newsom, please god! The sooner you get the hell out of town, the sooner I'll feel safe in my own city.

Posted by Guest VIctor on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

For a city that bags on LA for being a bunch of phonies. SF and Mayor Gavin Nuisance prides itself for being equal, pro choice, green, progressive blah blah blah blah, when it comes down to it's dirty secret the TL and the mentally ill, they're not any better than any other city. At least in LA they don't pretend to be shallow and fake by covering it up with food, gays, and smart cars.

So what happens to this population of mentally ill folks? Oh, more use of our county resources, stabbings, suicides, and hopefully a heavy migration to the Westfield mall or heaven forbid, the marina and Pac heights. Just because the mentally ill does not have a voice for advocacy doesn't mean they shouldn't be advocated for.

Citywide and community focus, thanks for doing what SF and it's politicians won't do. I'm sorry about your cuts, but it's obvious that San Franciscans rather spend their money on keeping our Victorian homes neat, our wealthy foodies well fed.

Posted by Viva Life on Jun. 10, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

Commenting of Bay Guardian is a waste of time. Write to your supervisors about this issue!

find out who is your supervisor by address:

Posted by dr_strangelove on Jun. 12, 2010 @ 6:20 pm

Obviously some of the people who have commented have serious problems and will suffer from these budget cuts. I don't live in the city, nor have I needed these services, but we are dealing with these issues everywhere as a result of unemployment and tax revenue losses. There will come a time when taxes must be increased, but first we should all clean house and get rid of any waste and inefficient programs. After that, are the tax paying citizens of the Bay area ready for a tax increase? How much is needed? Are programs like this a magnet for the people with needs? Will we ever really be able to cover everything we would like the city to provide? If not, what should be cut?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 15, 2010 @ 10:47 am