Psychiatric Health Facility (Inpatient)
The Behavioral Health Department operates a 16-bed, licensed Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF). The PHF provides observation and treatment for individuals in psychiatric crisis with acute mental illness under licensed psychiatric direction.
Psychiatric crisis emergency services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1 (800) 838-1381. If you are not in a crisis and need emotional support, please call the Central Coast Hotline at 1 (800) 783-0607.
The PHF is operated by the County under a license issued and regulated by the State Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) as a facility that provides 72 hours of psychiatric evaluation and treatment.
The Patients’ Rights Advocate can be reached at (805) 781-4738.
The Behavioral Health Department has fully re-opened all of our locations for in person and walk-in care. At this time, masks are required at all of our facilities, even for people who have been fully vaccinated. Visit SLOPublicHealth.org for the latest COVID-19 updates.
Who can use this service?
This service is available to individuals who meet Medi-Cal medical necessity criteria as well as:
- Individuals who, per Welfare and Institutions Code 5150, may be involuntarily detained due to indications they are, as a result of a mental disorder, a danger to self, danger to others, or may be gravely mentally disabled
- Misdemeanants in custody of the County jail, determined by the Court to be incompetent to stand trial (per Penal Code 1370). Inmates are treated at the Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) to restore them to competency, in order for them to participate in their legal proceedings.
- Conserved individuals (gravely mentally disabled and permanently housed elsewhere) in need of stabilization.
PHF admission criteria is set forth in the Welfare & Institutions Code 5150, and California Code of Regulations, Title 22. Individuals are assessed by qualified professionals for admission based on the following criteria:
As a result of a mental disorder*, the individual is deemed to be:
- A danger to self,
- A danger to others, or
- Gravely disabled (no ability to nourish oneself, obtain clothing or shelter, no third party caregiver).
*mental health conditions covered by CCR Title IX 1820.205
Is there a charge for this service?
Inpatient services at the Psychiatric Health Facility are free for most SLO Medi-Cal (CenCal) beneficiaries. Individuals with private insurance are most often transferred to out-of-county alternative psychiatric treatment facilities.
When and where is this service offered?
This service is available in San Luis Obispo County. Psychiatric crisis emergency services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1 (800) 838-1381.
Location, directions and hours of operation
Click on location name to show hours of operation, directions and phone information
2178 Johnson Avenue San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Frequently Asked Questions
A psychiatric crisis is a non-life threatening situation in which an individual is exhibiting extreme mental health symptoms, considering harm to self or others, disoriented or out of touch with reality and has a compromised ability to function safely.
If you believe someone is experiencing a non-life threatening psychiatric emergency, please call the 24/7 emergency psychiatric crisis line at (800) 838-1381.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a life threatening emergency, call 911.
Local Law Enforcement works in collaboration with local hospitals and our Mental Health Evaluation Team.
After calling the emergency psychiatric crisis line at (800) 838-1381, the Mental Health Evaluation Team will dispatch professionally licensed staff to evaluate the individual for inpatient psychiatric care as appropriate.
The Mental Health Evaluation Team may recommend that you assist the individual in going to your nearest Emergency Department for a medical clearance.
The acting hospital will then contact the Mental Health Evaluation Team after the individual has received medical clearance to provide the evaluation for inpatient psychiatric care.
It is often important that individuals receive a medical clearance prior to receiving a mental health evaluation for inpatient psychiatric treatment for the following reasons:
- The Psychiatric Care Facility is free standing, with no medical support attached to the facility or services provided.
- Medical support is provided by local hospitals only.
Call (800) 838-1381 and the Managed Care staff will assist you in obtaining an urgent appointment with County Outpatient Mental Health Services, or assist you in seeking other community resources with your insurance provider.
Only persons diagnosed with major mental disorders are to be treated in Psychiatric Health Facilities (PHF).
The following regulatory criteria describe persons who may not be legally retained in the PHF:
- PHF shall not admit and treat patients with the primary diagnosis of an eating disorder.
- PHF shall not admit and treat patients when the primary diagnosis is chemical dependency, chemical intoxication or chemical withdrawal.
- Individuals with major mental disorders shall not be admitted to PHF if their treatment requires medical interventions beyond the level appropriate to a psychiatric health facility including:
- Detoxification from substance abuse
- Treatment for substance induced delirium.
- Persons with a communicable disease that is required to be reported (per 17 CCR 2500), shall not be admitted to the facility. Examples include active treatment resistant infections such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Tuberculosis, COVID-19, etc.
- A patient who after admission is diagnosed as having a reportable communicable disease or being a carrier shall be promptly transferred to a facility capable of accommodating such patients.
- Persons with non-reportable disease or injury for whom the facility cannot provide adequate medical care. Examples include medical conditions such as some types of Diabetes, Dementia, Alzheimer’s, patients requiring supplemental oxygen, etc..
(22 CCR 77135)
- Psychiatric health facilities shall arrange alternative treatment settings for patients with injuries or diseases that require inpatient medical care. When a patient's particular injury or disease would ordinarily be treated on an outpatient basis absent the mental disorder, the facility may admit the patient only if the facility has appropriate policies, procedures and resources to ensure the safety of other patients and staff.
If you are not in a crisis and need emotional support, please call the Central Coast Hotline: 1 (800) 783-0607
The Central Coast Hotline is 24/7 mental health crisis line that provides immediate emotional support for you or someone else.
Yes. Patients who are voluntarily or involuntarily admitted to the PHF for psychiatric evaluation or treatment may have visitors during regularly schedule visiting hours (6:30pm - 8:00pm). For safety reasons, all visitors must be 18 years of age or older and will be subject to security screening. No outside food or drinks are allowed. For more information on visiting the PHF, please see our PHF Visitors Policy.
California Welfare and Institutions Code Lanterman-Petris-Short Act section 5000 et seq. permits the individual who is the subject of the proceeding to demand hearings be made public.
The zoom link below has been made available for public viewing for such purposes:
Join a Public Psychiatric Health Facility heating over Zoom.
Meeting ID: 941 7653 1093
The County of San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health Psychiatric Care Facility (PHF) is the only such facility within San Luis Obispo County. The nearest alternative 5150 facilities are located in Salinas, Santa Barbara, and Fresno/Bakersfield.
Due to frequent licensed capacity limits, SLO County individuals are often transferred directly from our area hospitals to out-of-County alternative inpatient psychiatric treatment facilities for treatment.
The Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) is staffed by a Behavioral Health Program Supervisor, an RN Nursing Supervisor, Psychiatrists, Registered Nurses, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Psychiatric Technicians, Vocational Nurses, and Behavioral Health Workers. Contracted services include Primary Care Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Rehabilitation Services, and Dietary Services.
Yes. Patients have a right to refuse medication unless there is a court order for medication or the patient is displaying imminently dangerous behavior toward self or others, and the doctor orders involuntary medication (Wellfare and Institutions code 5325.2).
There are subsequent fourteen (14) day legal holds that may be enacted if the individual continues to meet medical necessity criteria. All additional holds require judicial review. Patients have rights and are provided legal representation by the Public Defenders Office.
Patients also have access to a Patients’ Rights Advocate. The Patients’ Rights Advocate may be reached at (805) 781-4738.
Please contact our access line at 1 (800) 838-1381 for information or to schedule an appointment. All services are available in Spanish.
“Licensed by the State Department of Health Care Services.