AdviceSan Francisco

How You Can Help Concrn Tackle Mental Health Crises on SF Streets

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image from the SF Chronicle

Guest post by Jacob Savage director and cofounder of Concrn

We’ve all been there before: You see someone having a mental health crisis, and you want to help, but you don’t know what to do.

Luckily, the people of San Francisco can now take direct action to address their frustrations with the city’s inability to help all those challenged by homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse. An organization called Concrn (visit them here) is now training civilian volunteers to respond to non-violent crisis situations. They’ve developed a compassionate alternative to calling 911 for those who witness a crisis situation in the Tenderloin district. The community can make crisis reports using either the Concrn mobile app or texting their crisis number: 415-881-8278

Concrn has been operational for six months and recently got a dramatic jump in crisis reports after BrokeAssStuart mentioned them in an article on what to do when you see someone having a mental health crisis. Though they are thrilled to have increased visibility, their volunteers are overwhelmed by the amount of calls for crisis response. In light of this recent surge in reports, Concrn have planned a Compassionate Response training for those interested in joining their street team. The training will take place on Sunday, April 3 at the Pantheon office (717 California St 3rd Floor) from 10am-4pm. Training costs $49 but there are a limited number of scholarships still available for those who are tight on cash.

Concrn’s 6-hour “Intro to Compassionate Response” training will qualify volunteers to pair with an experienced crisis responder and walk the streets of the Tenderloin as they respond to those in need of support. After addressing the immediate crisis, their teams connect individuals to resources and services while emphasizing the importance of bringing positivity to every situation on the street. Concrn has some alternative methods for promoting clients’ sense of self-worth as they add a playful element to their crisis response. They have a different vibe than other service providers and bring art and music therapy to the streets. They are all about empowering individuals to realize their full potential to add value to their community.


The Concrn folks bringing music to the community

The training will coincide with Concrn’s Hackfest event (on the 2nd floor) where software developers are volunteering to build the next version of the Concrn app over the course of a weekend. You can register here.

Awesome Human Pledges to Match Concrn Donations

Someone has recently pledged $4500 in matching donations to Concrn. They agree to match $1500/mo for the next three months if I can find matching donors.  To hit our target of $6000/mo, we are looking for three $1500 matches each month. These funds will pay for lead compassionate responders to provide street outreach for 20 hours per week in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

This will dramatically improve our ability to immediately help individuals in crisis, while mediating the stress of scrambling to coordinate volunteers every time a report is made. Reducing this burden will also help us focus on fundraising, so we can scale our impact of serving those in need.

Please join us in serving San Francisco’s Tenderloin community while building a launchpad for the intersection of technology and compassion.

Your tax deductible matching donation of $1500/month for 3 months can be made via our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, Youth Community Service



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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.