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County Approves $25M Fund For Behavioral Health Infrastructure, Anticipates Increased Need Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

San Diego County Board of Supervisors in chamber on Feb. 19, 2020.
County of San Diego
San Diego County Board of Supervisors in chamber on Feb. 19, 2020.
The fear of getting sick, financial pressures due to job loss or decreased hours, social isolation resulting from stay-at-home orders. The stress from all the disruption and uncertainty brought by the Covid-19 crisis impacts each of us.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a $25 million behavioral health impact fund Tuesday morning.

The one-time money was previously locked up in litigation. The city of San Diego and the county have agreed to use it for infrastructure related to mental health and substance abuse treatment.

"Members of the Board of Supervisors today were unanimous I think in noting that it's an important moment to be making these kinds of funds available to, in particular, community-based programs," said Luke Bergmann, San Diego County Behavioral Health Services director. "Those services, we anticipate, will be especially critical in light of what's going on right now with COVID-19."

Bergmann said he expects to see an increase in depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and drug overdoses as a result of the stress surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

"People are holding back from care now, that is only going to exacerbate their behavioral health conditions and it's only going to heighten the need for care that they will have in the upcoming months," he said.

The stress from all the disruption and uncertainty brought by the COVID-19 crisis impacts each of us, some more than others. Bergmann joined Midday Edition on Tuesday to discuss ways to cope and resources.

Tips and takeaways from Bergmann:

  • Heightened anxiety and depression are normal under these circumstances.
  • Observe, acknowledge and talk about your experience and feelings.
  • Talking interrupts states of anxiety and stress.
  • If you don't have someone to talk to, you can call the Access and Crisis Line at 888-724-7240.
  • In talking to your children, be straight forward, encourage them to be observant of their feelings.