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Find a Therapist in San Francisco, CA

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Mental Health Statistics for San Francisco

According to the California Department of Mental Health, an estimated 7.2% of minors in San Francisco County had a serious emotional disturbance in 2000. That same year, 5.3% of all adults had a serious mental health condition. Between 2008 and 2009, over 5,000 county residents were admitted to a hospital or psychiatric facility for a 72-hour hold. 

One of the most prevalent mental health issues in San Francisco is substance abuse. Estimates from 2005 through 2010 put drug use rates at nearly 22% among citizens over the age of 12. This rate is significantly higher than the state prevalence of 16%. Of all adults in San Francisco, 5.7% had experienced a major depressive episode in the previous year. These statistics underscore the need for high-quality mental health services in the city.

Mental Health Programs in San Francisco

A leader in change, San Francisco prides itself on creating an environment of tolerance and well-being. With that goal in mind, several programs have emerged to meet the mental health needs of the citizens. These programs include the Suicide Attempters Group, Workplace Wellness, the Center for Dignity, Recovery and Stigma Elimination, the Institute on Compulsive Hoarding and Cluttering (ICHC), and SOLVE (Sharing Our Lives, Voices, and Experiences).

Striving to Eliminate Mental Illness Stigma in San Francisco

SOLVE was designed to eradicate mental illness stigma. SOLVE works with citizens who live with mental health challenges and trains them to become peer educators. Members of the SOLVE Speakers Bureau openly discuss their mental health experiences and the struggles they have faced in the past. They share the hope and the victories they have achieved with those still battling mental illness issues and stigma. The mission of SOLVE is to reduce the shame associated with mental health conditions and the isolation that results from that shame. By raising community awareness and reducing discrimination, every citizen of San Francisco can find an easier path to mental health treatment.


  1. Adult 72-hour evaluations and treatments by county fiscal year 2008-2009. (2011). California Health and Human Services Agency, Department of Mental Health. Retrieved from
  2. Mental Health Association, San Francisco. (2013). Mental Health Association of San Francisco. Retrieved from
  3. Mental Health Services Act. (2013). Mental Health Association of San Francisco. Retrieved from
  4. National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2005 and 2006 to 2010: Substance use and mental disorders in the Metro Brief San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont MSA. (2012). SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Retrieved from
  5. Original prevalence data based on the 2000 census, estimates of prevalence of persons with serious emotional disturbance (SED) and serious mental illness (SMI), San Francisco County. (2004). California Health and Human Services Agency, Department of Mental Health. Retrieved from
  6. Programs. (2013). Mental Health Association of San Francisco. Retrieved from