The Mental Health Center Received a $19.2 Million State-Funded Grant that will expand the capacity of treatment facilities that serve teen Californians as part of Los Angeles County’s Behavioral and Mental Health Infrastructure
LOS ANGELES – On the heels of Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement to award $480.5 million in grants for 54 projects to improve California’s behavioral health infrastructure for children and youth, Los Angeles-based Gateways Hospital and Mental Health Center announced that it will receive $19.2 million of the grant funding to expand behavioral and mental health services for adolescents at its facilities at its Echo Park hospital campus. The expansion and grant are part of the Los Angeles County-based projects that support behavioral health infrastructure to address gaps in care and create sustainable improvements that better serve county residents. The expansion will also make Gateways Hospital the largest provider of acute adolescent (ages 13-18) mental health and substance use disorder in Los Angeles County.
“The investment in behavioral and mental health services tailored to youth comes at a pivotal time,” said Gateways Hospital CEO Dr. Phil Wong. “The past several years have been especially difficult for adolescents and there is a dire need to provide support for our youth facing mental health crises. We commend Governor Newsom and Los Angeles County for prioritizing the funds to focus on youth mental health by expanding infrastructure capacity to help shift the tide. Our team is eager to break ground on our expansion so that we can start serving the youth who are in need.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in three high school students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness. One in six adolescents reported making a suicide plan, an increase of 44% since 2009. In California, suicide is among the top three leading causes of death among young adults between the ages of 14-19. The fears, social distancing protocols, and widespread adoption of remote learning implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically compounded the need for mental health support.
The planned expansion will focus on adolescents with serious emotional or behavioral problems or experiencing an acute psychiatric emergency, most of whom have experienced traumatic events or adverse childhood experiences and/or involvement with child welfare services. Support specialties will focus on adolescents who identify as transgender, intersex, and nonbinary, those who are facing crises due to issues surrounding substance abuse and eating disorders, and 18-24 Transition Age Youth (TAY) who face increased pressure and placement issues as they transition to adulthood.
“Gateways Hospital has been dedicated to providing mental health services to Angelenos in need for the last 60 years, especially those patients who have chronic mental health emergencies,” said Barry Steinhardt, Gateways Hospital Board President. “With this grant, the expansion will be able to help hundreds of youths by providing specialized treatment and counseling they sorely need, in a safe and supportive environment.”
The 13,000-square-foot expansion project will add 37 new adolescent beds to the existing 27 and increase the total number of adolescent patients served from 300 to 445 per year at the main Gateways Hospital and Mental Health Center campus. The planned facility is unique because it will offer patients multi-faceted treatment modalities – including drug and alcohol counseling, group counseling and peer support, medical monitoring, and support from dieticians for patients with eating disorders – alongside traditional mental health care.
The awards are delivered through the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program (BHCIP) Round 4: Children and Youth grants.