Santa Clara County Supervisors Unanimously Approve Plan to Build Mental Health Center for Children - NBC Bay Area
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Santa Clara County Supervisors Unanimously Approve Plan to Build Mental Health Center for Children

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    File image of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

    The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to construct an inpatient psychiatric facility for youth in crisis at Valley Medical Center in San Jose.

    "This is about teens at risk of doing damage to themselves or others. This is about families struggling through the hardest thing they'll ever face and being torn apart at precisely the time they need to be together," said Board President and Supervisor Joe Simitian in a statement.

    The county said more than "two dozen parents, educators, community members and health care professionals testified in support" of constructing the facility, which Simitian said has the potential to serve hundreds of families.

    Simitian said on any given day that almost 20 Santa Clara County children are hospitalized for psychiatric emergencies outside the county as far away as San Francisco, Concord, Vallejo and Sacramento.

    "It's better therapeutically for these kids to be close to their community when they're in crisis - close to their family, their friends and their own local mental health providers," Simitian said.

    The board has directed the county to prepare detailed construction and operational plans for the new facility at Valley Medical Center, which is expected to have up to 36 beds.

    The county says it plans to partner with several medical organizations in the area on the facility.

    County Executive Jeffrey Smith said in the statement that more detailed plans for construction will come back to the board for consideration within an estimated six-month timeframe.

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