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BREAKDOWN: Investigating San Diego County's Mental Health Care Crisis

NBC San Diego logo NBC San Diego 18 hrs ago Catherine Garcia, Tom Jones, Jay Yoo, Armando Flores and Rafael Avitabile
© Provided by NBC San Diego

BREAKDOWN airs in three parts on NBC 7 San Diego at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

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In 2019, NBC 7 began investigating how and why the mental health care system in San Diego County was failing people. The investigation started when we learned that librarians at the Central Library in downtown San Diego were doing way more work related to the mental health care of their patrons than anything related to books. As we worked to understand why that was happening, we uncovered what many experts call a mental health care crisis.

“BREAKDOWN” exposes the many ways this crisis affects our community, and, through the voices of those hit hardest by the crisis, shows how changes to the system could better serve those so desperately in need of care. 

Evidence of San Diego County's mental health crisis can be found almost anywhere you look. Parents, siblings and San Diegans give faces to the crisis in Part I of NBC 7's BREAKDOWN. More on this side of the story here.

The San Diego Sheriff's Department says it has become the county’s largest mental health provider, running a $90 million budget for medical and mental health care. The department is part of a countywide effort to implement new training and there are new screening programs in its jails. But critics say it isn't enough, and without proper resources in place, people suffering from mental illness are dying at the hands of law enforcement. In Part II of NBC 7's Breakdown, hear from Sheriff Bill Gore about his department's response to the crisis, and from families who say the system has failed their loved ones. Read the full story here.

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Part III airs Friday at 6:30 p.m. on NBC 7 San Diego

The stigma surrounding mental health is a giant, but San Diegans from all different walks are teaming up to break it down. In Part III of NBC 7's BREAKDOWN, survivors, advocates and elected officials share their strategies for winning the fight.

San Diegans can click here for a list of mental health resources available in the region.

Woman Gouged Out Her Eyes While in Jail in San Diego County: Lawsuit

Tanya Suarez is suing the County of San Diego, claiming she should not have been left alone and unrestrained in a jail cell at Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in 2019. She ended up gouging out both of her eyes, while she says she was in a delusional state. Suarez said she struggled with depression and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. See the full Story here.

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