Mentors reduce return trips for mental health patients- SF Chronicle

Mentor on Discharge, a collaboration between bay area NAMI affiliates, was covered by San Francisco Chronicle health writer Victoria Colliver. Check out the SF Chronicle artcile and NAMI SF’s press release below. The article can also be found in the June 6th issue of the SF Chronicle on page D1

Mentors reduce return trips for mental health patients- San Francisco Chronicle


Mentor on Discharge® Addresses Gaps in Mental Health System With Peer-to-Peer Support Network

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has partnered with the UCSF Department of Psychiatry at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) to launch ‘Mentor on Discharge,’ a program that focuses on wellness and recovery after psychiatric hospitalization. The program plans to launch February 1, 2016.

“This program will disrupt the cycle of hospitalization for hundreds of San Franciscans who struggle with mental illness.” said Anne Fisher, Executive Director of NAMI San Francisco. “By providing patients with continued resources and consistent support after discharge, we will both improve their treatment outcomes and dramatically reduce health care costs.”

Mentor on Discharge matches patients at SFGH with a peer mentor to help navigate outpatient care. Each mentor has a personal experience with a mental health condition, and brings this first-hand knowledge to weekly meetings with mentees. Mentors meet with mentees once prior to discharge, and then weekly for 4-6 months after discharge from inpatient psychiatry. Mentors provide one-on-one peer support to help combat social isolation, empowering individuals to effectively manage their treatment and work towards recovery.

“We are very happy to be working with NAMI to launch this essential program in San Francisco.” said Mark Leary, MD, Deputy Chief of Psychiatry at San Francisco General. “When it comes to psychiatric hospitalization, many patients lack the support system and resources needed to follow through with their outpatient treatment plan. This often results in patients falling into a cycle of hospitalization, which is extremely costly to our health care system and demoralizing to the individuals and families struggling with mental illness. This program will give patients a helping hand when they need it most.”

The Dept. of Psychiatry’s Psychiatric Emergency Service evaluates more than 7000 patients and provides acute inpatient care to 1800 of San Francisco’s chronic and seriously mentally ill patients annually.

In addition to the San Francisco launch, NAMI Santa Clara will be rolling out a Mentor on Discharge program in partnership with El Camino Hospital.

NAMI Alameda County South who founded the program, conducted a Mentor on Discharge pilot that showed a 70% reduction in hospitalization and a dramatic reduction in healthcare costs. Program leaders estimate that this San Francisco program could save the City $1 million per year.

Mentor on Discharge in San Francisco received its first grant from The San Francisco Foundation, and thanks TSFF for its investment in bringing this bold new idea to life.



Mentors reduce return trips for mental health patients – San Francisco Chronicle

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