Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Addressing mental health crisis

 August 3, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, August 3rd.

A mental health crisis in San Diego County. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


San Diego officials are declaring a local health emergency over a monkeypox outbreak that’s infected at least 46 San Diegans and 800 californians..

The move could help bring more vaccines to the region.

Monkeypox can cause painful rashes and sores, in addition to flu symptoms.

County Public Health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten says anyone can become infected, but this current outbreak is spreading mainly among gay and bisexual men.

"There has been one hospitalization and thankfully no deaths. The ages range from 27-58 with a medium age of 34. All cases are male.”

Monkeypox spreads through close contact with an infected person, or their bedding or clothing.


June was a pandemic record-breaking month for air travel in San Diego.

The San Diego Airport said it had more than two million passengers in June.

It’s the first time they’ve hit that mark since December 20-19.

Airport officials say the increase of passengers is partly because of an increase in nonstop flights to domestic and international destinations.


The Padres announced yesterday that they acquired all-star outfielder Juan Soto (SO-toe) and first baseman Josh Bell from the Washington Nationals before the M-L-B trade deadline.

Long time Padres fans and San Marcos resident Tom Goad (GOH-d) is confident Soto is going to thrive here in San Diego.

“The fans are the real key here and they’re going to turn out for him and the rest of the guys for sure!”

The 23-year-old most recently won this year’s home run derby and comes to the Padres leading the majors with 91 walks.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


San Diego County officials say we’re in the midst of a mental health crisis.

Millions of dollars in additional funding is being allocated in this year’s budget..

KPBS Health reporter Matt Hoffman looks at how some of the money is being spent.

Lane This is the new way to do crisis intervention work. Gone are the days where you have to just call 9-1-1 for a mental health crisis this is the new way to do this this to get people help in the community Breanna Lane leads Telecare’s mobile crisis response teams in San Diego County.. Referred to as MCRT, teams with clinicians are being dispatched to mental health calls, instead of police officers.. And call volume has been going up month over month since expanding the program county-wide. Breanna Lane, Telecare Mobile Crisis Response teams We will serve everyone and anyone. So we’ll have a team that goes on a call to a wealthy family maybe someone is having suicidal thoughts to then wrap that call up and go to 12th an imperial someone who is unsheltered experience psychosis Hi MCRT this is michael A mission valley hub acts as a dispatch center for the crisis response teams.. If someone calls 9-1-1 now for a mental health emergency these teams can respond instead.. It’s one piece of the county’s efforts to turn the behavioral health system away from crisis response to one that works similar to health care. That includes diverting people away from emergency services who might not need them– Luke Bergmann, County Behavioral Health Services We see huge numbers of people -- disproportionate number of folks with behavioral health conditions showing up to ERs, incredible work happens there but ERs are not designed to care for folks with behavioral health conditions Luke Bergmann oversee’s San Diego County’s behavioral health services.. This year’s budget calls for a 70 million dollar increase and 115 new positions.. Part of that is to help create a “continuum of care” -- which, like the health system, would have some type of middle ground or urgent care. That’s what crisis stabilization units or CSU’s are designed to do.. Two recently opened in Vista and Oceanside and there’s plans for more over the next few years– Luke Bergmann, County Behavioral Health Services When you show it up it is designed to make people feel more at east to cultivate a connection and all of that like stuff that happens at the instance of initial engagement is really important to what happens further along in the trajectory These crisis stabilization centers are where many people contacted by the new MCRT teams end up going. Nick Macchione, San Diego County Health & Human Services How do we make sure that we’re getting folks to the right level of service not going to 911 if it’s not life emergency but going elsewhere if they need immediate help Nick Maccione leads the county’s health and human services agency. Macchione This year the health and human service agency our budget is approaching 3 billion dollars, a billion of which is nearly in behavioral health services Maccione says in his 25 years with the county he’s only seen the need for behavioral health services increase.. Officials report we’re seeing nationwide trends in San Diego County -- overdoses are up as are rates of psychological distress. People of color and those with lower incomes are disproportionately impacted and it’s not just adults, the pandemic has caused a spike in mental health visits for kids.. Officials want to be proactive and roll out a new program that evaluates every student. Luke Bergmann, County Behavioral Health Services It’s a universal screening program we’re going to start it in the middle school settings screening every kid across all districts in this county in middle school settings so we’ll know even if there’s nothing that would suggest they’re at increased risk of behavioral health issues we’ll know and be able to respond The county also embraces harm reduction strategies too, for instance those under the influence of drugs and alcohol aren’t being turned away from the county’s newest homeless shelter– Luke Bergmann, County Behavioral Health Services focusing instead of solely on their addiction if we focus on their wellness people are five times more likely to go into formal treatment into treatment if they’ve had contact with a harm reduction providers Mobile crisis response teams are available 24-7 in San Diego County.. And now people can call the national 9-8-8 crisis line to reach them too. Program operators say most referrals come from third parties or police, but that’s changing as more people become aware of the resource– Breanna Lane, Telecare Mobile Crisis Response teams I think we’ve really only kind of seen the tip of the iceberg with the need for this program. With the call volume going up it’s kind of told us that having an alternative to mental health calls is needed in san diego MH KPBS News.


The young woman who reported being sexually assaulted by members of the S-D-S-U football team spoke out a day after the school announced it’s starting its own investigation.

The assault happened at an off-campus party last October... when the woman was 17.

The woman… whom we are not identifying … says the school waited too long to start its own investigation to protect other young women like her.

“It kind of scared me just because I do know how many girls go to these parties and make the decisions that I, unfortunately, made that night. it scares me for the other women and all of the other students altogether that have no idea. I think SDSU waited too long.”

S-D-S-U says it was asked not to start its own investigation because it could interfere with the San Diego police department’s criminal investigation.

So far … no one has been charged.


Social justice organizations gathered in front of the San Diego county courthouse downtown yesterday (Tuesday), to demand change in county jails.

The event came less than a week after a 23-year-old inmate died in custody… the 15th inmate to die this year.

An independent report released in April showed that based on population, San Diego County jails had the highest number of people in the state who died without being sentenced.

One of Tuesday’s speakers was Patrick J. Germany, who says he’s been in the system… and that he is tired of hearing about deaths in the jails.

He said everyone must take action.

"I’m in pain, I’m traumatized, I’m all those things, all those titles fit me today ... and if you don’t wake up and if you don’t watch it, it’s going to be your loved one next."

The sheriff’s department sent KPBS a statement saying that every death is a tragedy and they are focused on improvements and strive to make the jails safe.


Coming up.... San Diego sets its sights on zero emissions by 2035.. We’ll have that story and more, next, just after the break.


The San Diego city council approved a sweeping revision of its climate action plan yesterday (Tuesday).

KPBS Environment reporter Erik Anderson has details.

The council voted overwhelmingly to approve a major update to the city’s landmark climate friendly planning document. San Diego was the first major city in the country to pass a climate action plan back in 2015 and this is the first update since then. The document calls for the city to reach a net zero greenhouse gas emissions goal by 2035. City council president Sean Elo-Rivera called the goals vital. “We’d have food and water security. We’d have abundant trees and plant life. We’d have clean air in every neighborhood. With those ideas in mind we have every reason to work as hard as possible to achieve those goals.” The plan has more than 200 actionable steps to measure progress as the city more toward the review in 2027. Erik Anderson KPBS News


On the national level, a deal has been made on the Federal climate action bill set to be voted on in the Senate.

After long-time hold out Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia agreed to the package last week, Democrats are optimistic about its chances.

The bill includes 369 billion dollars in federal spending, various tax provisions and a prescription drug price reduction initiative….and at its core it is the first Federal bill to set a carbon emissions reduction goal of 40-percent by 20-30.

Scott Peters represents San Diego in the House.

He joined KPBS’S Maureen Cavanaugh to talk more about the bill and how it might benefit San Diego.

People were sounding the death knell for this bill just a couple of weeks ago….until Senator Manchin decided to support it. Did that come as a surprise to you?

It looks like every Republican Senator will vote no on the bill…can it pass with just Democrats voting for it in the Senate?

What are the key elements to this climate and energy bill as you see it?

If it does pass in the Senate…will you be called back to Washington?

You’ve been working on bi-partisan climate action in the House, so do you think any Republican House members would support this bill?

That was San Diego Congressman Scott Peters, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host Maureen Cavanaugh.


Tiki Oasis returns to Town and Country Resort for what it boasts is the biggest Tiki Weekender on the planet. For more than 2 decades the convention has drawn people from all over the globe to celebrate tiki culture and escape the real world. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando previews the event that kicks off tonight (Wednesday).

Tiki Oasis kicks off tonight and runs through Sunday at the Town and Country Resort. The Art Show and Tiki Marketplace are free and open to the public.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

Millions of dollars are being allocated to help fight a mental health crisis in San Diego County. In other news, the young woman who reported being sexually assaulted by members of the SDSU football team speaks out. Plus, the San Diego City Council approves a revision of its climate action plan.