Anonymous donor gives $50M toward new UCSF mental health center

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — An anonymous donor has given $50 million to build a 140,000 square foot mental health center at the University of California at San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus, university officials said today.

UCSF officials said they plan to open the approximately $100 million center in 2019, with part of the center devoted to children, teens and families.

“This visionary gift, in addition to enabling us to offer state-of-the-art mental health care, will leverage UCSF’s preeminent basic and clinical research programs in pediatrics and adolescent medicine to benefit the mental health of children and families,” UCSF chancellor Sam Hawgood said in a statement. “This gift will advance the field.”

“This new facility will help us bring the benefits of UCSF’s world-class research and clinical care to the most vulnerable populations in our region,” Hawgood said.

UCSF spokesman Peter Farley said the $50 million will cover the value of the land and part of the building. The university will also raise money for the construction of the building, which will be located at 2130
Third Street, near 18th Street.

University officials plan to hold meetings with the community to discuss plans for the center before university in December or January, and regents should vote on the project in November 2016.

Mental health services at the new center will be limited to outpatient services and research space. Inpatient mental health services will remain at UCSF’s Parnassus campus in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset
neighborhood, while outpatient services currently at the Parnassus campus will move to the new center.

The center’s research will partly focus on the prevention of mental illness, a hot topic in the field of psychiatry, Farley said.

Farley said scientists’ current opinion is that a person may be predisposed to mental illness, which can be tipped into expression by either environmental or socioeconomic influences.

The work at the center also aims to help erase the stigma associated with mental illness

UCSF’s chair of psychiatry Dr. Matthew State said “separations between medicine, pediatrics, neurology and psychiatry” … “have helped foster the stigma surrounding mental illness. “With this landmark gift we are going to break down these barriers, improve the care of our patients and their families, and help erase that stigma.”

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