City of South San Francisco Welcomes Licensed Mental Health Clinician to Assist with 911 Calls

·4 min read

Licensed clinician comes on board to assist South San Francisco residents due to an increase in COVID-19-related mental health issues

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Dec. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Mika Celli, a licensed clinical social worker, has joined the City of South San Francisco as a full-time mental health clinician to assist the Police Department with mental health-related calls by providing appropriate, compassionate care involving non-violent individuals.

City of South San Francisco Welcomes Licensed Mental Health Clinician to Assist with 911 Calls
City of South San Francisco Welcomes Licensed Mental Health Clinician to Assist with 911 Calls

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession have negatively affected many people's mental health and created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders. Concerns are growing regarding its long-term impact on mental health all across the Country. The number of mental health-related 911 calls in South San Francisco has risen sharply since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the need for a more robust mental health response to help residents.

"A mental health professional on staff allows us to help our residents who may suffer a mental health crisis and work with individuals to prevent mental health issues where possible," said Mike Futrell, South San Francisco City Manager. "Ms. Celli's experience in biopsychosocial assessments, suicide intervention, and mental health case management make her the right person to establish this new program – plus she grew up in South San Francisco and is already a part of our community."

Most recently, Celli served as Primary Therapist for Discovery Behavioral Health in Menlo Park. "My goal with this program is to bring awareness to mental health issues and break down the stereotypes around it," said Celli. "I hope to lead this pilot into a larger program that will eventually lead to the development of a whole unit dedicated to mental health crises."

Celli graduated from South San Francisco High School, and then the University of Southern California where she earned a Master's degree in Social Work, with an emphasis on mental health. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work, obtained from Concordia University in Portland, OR. Her experience includes treating many forms of common mental health disorders (depression, suicidality, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder), as well as eating disorders, dual diagnosis (mental health and substance abuse) issues. She has experience in all levels of outpatient treatment (general outpatient, intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs), as well as the residential level, where clients reside in a facility for treatment (usually for 3 to 30 days). She has also worked in community-based mental health treatment for children and families on MediCal.

"I work to meet my clients and their support systems wherever they are in the moment and provide empathetic, individualized, and client-centered care, using a variety of therapeutic approaches and techniques," added Celli.

Outside of work, Celli provides suicide prevention and intervention on the Golden Gate Bridge and strongly values civil rights and social justice. She's been volunteering with a non-profit civil rights education program for the last 14 years teaching civil rights and educating students on advocacy work and how they can make a difference in their own communities. "Breaking barriers and challenging stereotypes for mental health, civil rights, and social justice has always been a passion of mine and I'm excited to have that built into my full-time work," said Celli.

As part of the Community Wellness and Crisis Response Project, South San Francisco joins the County of San Mateo, Daly City, San Mateo, and Redwood City in funding and support of this pilot program, which was set in motion to provide alternatives to incarceration and overburdened hospital emergency rooms for individuals undergoing mental health crises.

San Mateo County's Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), in conjunction with StarVista will train and supervise clinicians in this newly created work. The John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University will independently evaluate the intervention and assessment methods used by clinicians and cities to help refine each program as needed.

About the City of South San Francisco
The City of South San Francisco proudly remains The Industrial City, a reflection of its steel mill and ship building past, redefined to reflect the innovative, entrepreneurial, and industrious spirit which has made South San Francisco the Biotech Capital of the World, with 217 active biotech companies and growing. A vibrant community of 66,185 residents, South San Francisco enjoys a high quality of life with an extensive public parks system, active library and learning programming and a dynamic, engaged community making South San Francisco a great place to live, learn, work and play.

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SOURCE City of South San Francisco

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