San Francisco Healing Center – Behavioral Health Center

  • Photographs by: Danny Acevedo -

San Francisco , California
Project Description

UC San Francisco has joined with the City of San Francisco and three other public and private partners to open a new center to help address the city’s mental health inpatient needs.

CHA was proud to design Crestwood’s, San Francisco Healing Center, a 54-bed facility located on the 5th floor at St. Mary’s Medical Center. The center will double the number of beds in the county that serve patients who do not need the acute care offered at UCSF, but are not able to care for themselves on their own.

The $3 million-plus reconstruction of the previously unused floor was expected to take two years, but it’s been completed in less than one.

Crestwood, the biggest provider of residential mental health treatment in California, plans to provide the patients with a wraparound approach of therapy, job training and life-skills instruction that can range from showing people how to pay bills to helping them dress properly.

Everything about the center is meant to be soothing — Crestwood’s beautiful homelike, healing environment first-hand, which includes our soft, soothing paint colors and art work, serenity room, comfort room, welcoming room, dining room, library, living room and sitting room which features television screens that show virtual fish tanks for creating a relaxing environment.

It’s an involuntary ward, but there are no locks on the room doors. A game room will offer ping pong tables and board games. There are unexpected little touches, too: All along the hallways are squares dotted with small tiles and large video screens showing images of fish tanks.

“We have actually found that looking at fish tanks reduces anxiety,” said Patricia Blum, a Crestwood executive vice president. “And the tiles — if you need to, say, express rage, your brain chemistry changes when you push on them. It’s calming.”

Those are just small tools in the larger goal of healing people enough to ease them into greater independence, and perhaps employment, after they leave, Blum said.

  • Highlights
    • Fast Track Project Delivery
    • Healing Design
    • Accessibility Upgrades
    • Infill of Acute Care Hospital Floor
  • Client

    Crestwood Behavioral Health