Isis Center

San Diego

About Us

Short Term Acute Residential Treatment (START)


Program Description

The START programs (also referred to as crisis residential programs) offer a alternative to hospitalization for the person who is suffering a psychiatric crisis of such magnitude so as not to be manageable on an outpatient basis. They are designed to be community-based, homelike environments which specialize in the psychosocial rehabilitation of each individual who comes through the door. They range in size from eleven to sixteen beds and are staffed 24 hours a day by Masters-prepared mental health professionals. 


Treatment Team

Built around a bio-psychosocial approach, the programs offer a multi-disciplinary team whose members address each aspect of each client's unique situation. This includes mental health, often with co-occurring substance abuse, housing, medical and medication needs and referrals to follow-up services. The programs seek to ensure that each resident is connected to a variety of social service supports within the community, to aid the transition into successful living beyond the START programs.  The average length of stay is 9 days.


A typical day in the program begins with a Community Meeting in which staff and clients gather to discuss the day's schedule and any community issues. Clients meet with individual counselors to discuss mental health and transition issues, as well as meet in groups for psychosocial and health education.  Clients have an opportunity to meet with the psychiatrist, as well as to have ongoing medication education with the nursing staff.

The community aspect of the programs is key. All meals are prepared by teams of clients working together to create a community environment, unlike a hospital or institutional setting. Staff may include clients in shopping, meal planning, housekeeping, and other such tasks as part of the process of rehabilitation.

The programs are designed to discover the unique needs and preferences of each individual, engage the personal strengths of each, and tailor the individual service plan to meet the person's needs. One program, the Isis Center, is designated for monolingual Spanish-speaking clients. The program has a bilingual-bicultural team in place to serve the unique needs of this community. Additionally, the programs have the capacity to provide interpreter services for other languages, as well as American Sign Language. Clients with special needs related to mobility can be treated at Vista Balboa and Halcyon Crisis Centers.

- from the website.