County to Study Building Behavioral Health Hub on Unused Hillcrest Lot

BHS Hillcrest property
Site of new County psychiatric hub in Hillcrest.

The County Board of Supervisors today voted to abandon current plans to lease an unused piece of County-owned property in Hillcrest to build condominiums and instead instructed the Health and Human Services Agency to conduct a feasibility study to determine if a behavioral health services hub can be housed on the land.

The Board also indicated similar projects should be considered in other County-owned properties throughout the county.

The request came from Supervisor Nathan Fletcher who said providing mental health and substance abuse services near existing health care providers would be a much better use for the property and a model that could be replicated in other parts of the county.

“I believe we can build a world-class model of care for those who are experiencing mental health and behavioral health injuries,” Supervisor Fletcher said. “The geographic location of this services is vital in achieving the outcomes we need.”

The 7.24-acre parcel located at the end of Third Ave.—parcels 4307 to 4309—and overlooking Mission Valley has been vacant for 10 years and used to operate as a County center for abused and neglected children. Adjacent to the property is another County-owned parcel which houses an Emergency Screening Unit that currently serves children and teens who are experiencing a mental health crisis or emergency.

The services provided at this regional facility could include crisis stabilization, inpatient, residential psychotherapeutic rehabilitation, intensive outpatient, and other related services and programs.

Fletcher also requested that opportunities be explored to collaborate with regional health care providers. UC San Diego Medical Center, Scripps Mercy Hospital and many other medical buildings are less than a half mile away.

After the feasibility study takes place, the Health and Human Services Agency is expected to return to the Board of Supervisors no later than November 20, 2019, with a report and recommendations.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact