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County Bringing Innovative Mental Health Services for Teen to North County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                          

October 22, 2019

For More Information, Contact:
Charlsie Chang
(408) 299-5050 office
(626) 898-2395 cell 


SAN JOSE The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted today to secure a space in Palo Alto for allcove (formerly known as headspace), an innovative walk-in teen mental health program that would make early behavioral healthcare for kids and teens accessible in northern Santa Clara County.

"Time after time, the saddest part of the story is that a kid didn't reach out earlier, didn't have the opportunity to get help when they really needed it,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who successfully proposed County funding for the program. “The appeal of programs like allcove is that they’re designed to engage youngsters who are struggling long before they hit a crisis point."

The allcove model is based on models from Australia, Canada, and Ireland, as a stand-alone one-stop mental health center for youth. The goal of allcove is to ensure young people feel comfortable and safe when accessing services, and to eliminate stigma associated with accessing behavioral health services. The center will provide five core components in youth services: mental health support for those with mild-moderate mental health issues, primary care support, substance use early intervention, peer support, and supported education and employment. The County is also opening an allcove site in San Jose.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Supervisor Simitian, Toni Tullys from County Behavioral Health, and many other County and community leaders, youth, and families in bringing this first of a kind program in the US to the young people of Santa Clara County,” said Dr. Steven Adelsheim, Director of the Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing. “These innovative services, developed in consultation with the youth of our community, are important components of a continuum of mental health care that will hopefully bring critical early interventions services to our community.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health, one in five adolescents has a diagnosable mental disorder, and yet less than half of adolescents with such disorders received any kind of treatment in the last year. The National Center for Children in Poverty report that there are only 8,122 youth ages 0 - 25 using mental health services in Santa Clara County, while data suggests that among youth aged 11 to 17 alone, over 30,000 youth, should be accessing services. 

“I’m gratified to see our County step up yet again to make sure that kids have the help they need close to home,” said Simitian. “We know the problem is real, and we have to provide solutions here in our county.”

The new program is one of a series of steps Santa Clara County is taking to increase mental health service access for young people. Concurrently, the County is in the process of designing and constructing an adolescent inpatient psychiatric unit on the Valley Medical Center campus for children and adolescents in the county. That plan was also the result of a proposal by Simitian (back in June of 2015), after he documented the hundreds of local youth annually who were being sent out of the area for inpatient psychiatric treatment.

“But,” said Simitian, “whenever possible, we’d like to connect with kids before hospital care is necessary. That’s the beauty of the allcove model. It’s the kind of early access to mental health services that helps kids sooner rather than later.”

The allcove space will be located in Palo Alto’s Midtown neighborhood, convenient to residents from throughout the community and easy to access for residents in surrounding communities. The County will be leasing approximately 5,264 square feet, and hopes to have allcove in place and providing services by May 2020.

Simitian has been pushing for an allcove facility in the North County since 2016, and said he’s been frustrated by the long struggle to find a suitable space. “Local teens need these services now; we can’t get it done soon enough.” Simitian serves as President of the County Board of Supervisors and as Chair of the County’s Health and Hospital Committee.




Last updated: 10/25/2019 3:59 PM