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Behavioral Health

County leaders celebrate grand opening of new Behavioral Health building

Today, top local, state, and national leaders gathered in San Bernardino to celebrate the grand opening of a new 11,375-square-foot facility serving the Juvenile Justice Program (JJP) within San Bernardino County’s Department of Behavioral Health. The facility will serve an estimated 400 to 900 families per year, advancing the JJP’s mission to provide a comprehensive and effective continuum of adolescent behavioral health care for justice-involved youth, in or out of custody, who have mental illness.

“The Juvenile Justice Program reduces recidivism, promotes wellness and recovery, and enhances the quality of life in our county,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “Also, this project was developed in a Qualified Opportunity Zone, which benefits both the public and private sectors and creates vital community benefit. The value of bringing new investment to underserved communities underscores the importance of this program.”

Vice Chair Dawn Rowe

“This new space will serve as a key resource for many deserving individuals and families in the region. It will be instrumental in giving youth and their families hope for a better future by promoting wellness and resiliency,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Dawn Rowe. The facility is located within Vice Chair Rowe’s Third Supervisorial District.

The new office space will be located proximate to the San Bernardino Children’s Assessment Center, Juvenile Court, Probation Office, and several schools. This new location will help facilitate collaboration as JJP staff members conduct community outreach and serve justice involved youth and their families.

“The critical need for outpatient behavioral health services has never been greater, especially when we are addressing restorative justice for youth living in this community. This is a great day for our youth, for equity and for our San Bernardino County at large,” said Dr. Veronica Kelley, Director for the Department of Behavioral Health.

Notably, the facility is located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) census tract – one of 57 Opportunity Zone tracts in the County – a designation created in 2017 via bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). Under the initiative, investors who make long-term investments in QOZ communities are eligible for a series of tax benefits. The neighborhood is amongst the most distressed in the nation, scoring a 92.2 out of 100 on the Economic Innovation Group’s Distressed Communities Index. Further, its youngest residents are disconnected from vital services and are not well-positioned to reach their full potential. The Child Opportunity Index finds that neighborhood conditions scored very low for the census tract, suppressing the potential for local children and young adults to achieve upward mobility.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott

“Already millions of Americans have seen and benefited from the incredible potential of Opportunity Zones across the nation,” said Senator Tim Scott, who attended and spoke at the event. “I am amazed by the great work being done here at the San Bernardino Medical Center and look forward to hearing the success stories that come from their efforts.”

The project was highlighted as a national best practice in a May 2020 report by the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, which included several case studies of Opportunity Zone investments across the country.

“Today is another sign of the growing promise of San Bernardino,” said San Bernardino Mayor John Valdivia. “First and foremost, this new facility will help us better meet the needs of youth and families in our community. More broadly, the 500+ jobs created by the project and millions in new private investment generated are proof positive that San Bernardino is open for business and poised for growth. I commend my colleagues at the County for reaching this milestone, and thank Senator Scott, RevOZ Capital, and Sudweeks Development for their commitment to our community.”

Opportunity Zone capital proved essential to the building’s viability and construction. In 2018, San Bernardino County selected California-based developer Sudweeks Development and Investment Co. (SDIC) to finance and build a new government office building. The county pre-leased the building for 15 years. However, SDIC found that potential equity partners were not willing to invest in such a highly-distressed community, even though the long-term commitment from the county (an S&P rated AA+ tenant) reduced the risk of the project. Fortunately, RevOZ Capital, a nationally-recognized Opportunity Zone fund, partnered with SDIC and the County.  RevOZ and its affiliates made a 10-year investment to support construction of the San Bernardino Medical Center

“This project embodies so much of what RevOZ aspires to achieve,” said Lisa Merage, RevOZ Capital Managing Partner and Chair of the RevOZ Social Impact Council. “We believe deeply both in the potential of emerging communities like San Bernardino, and in the potential of Opportunity Zone investments to create real economic, financial, and community benefits. We thank all of our partners for their support on this project, and are excited to explore further opportunities in the community to create economic and social impact.”

“Public–Private Partnerships have been the cornerstone of our business for the past several years,” said Brandon Sudweeks, Managing Member of SDIC. “Our team truly enjoys bringing together public, private, and community interests to address deep, unmet needs. I’m grateful to the County for their collaboration, and particularly thankful to Senator Scott and RevOZ for seeing the potential of Opportunity Zone financing to bring this project to fruition. Completing such a timely and important project – especially in light of the challenges posed by Covid over the past year – is a credit to our team and a tremendous source of pride.”

County staff anticipate completing final preparatory activities in the coming days and open the facility to patients later this month. For more information on the DBH Juvenile Justice Program, please visit www.sbcounty.gov/dbh.

The Juvenile Justice Program (JJP) is a collaboration of the San Bernardino County Probation Department and the Department of Behavioral Health. It is a team entrusted by the public to provide quality mental health services to juveniles in the justice system and to their families in an effort to reduce recidivism and enhance the quality of their lives. Juvenile Justice Program services are only available to minors involved in the San Bernardino County juvenile justice system who are referred to the program through the Probation Department and Juvenile Court system.

Governor Newsom’s ‘Statewide Expert’ on homelessness visits San Bernardino County

Darrell Steinberg and Department of Behavioral Health Director Veronica Kelley

Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento’s mayor, co-chair of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force, and co-author of the seminal Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), visited San Bernardino County this week to hear from residents and experience first-hand how San Bernardino County Behavioral Health’s (DBH) MHSA-funded programs and services have lifted people out of homelessness, poverty and addiction.

Steinberg’s visit was part of his plan to tour different counties around the state to observe best practices and strategies relating to homelessness and behavioral health prevention, diversion, and intervention. Steinberg will use the information, coupled with input received from local governments and constituents, to inform the state’s work on homelessness and its mental health system.  Just hours prior to Steinberg’s visit to the county, the Department of Health Care Services announced a new framework for Medi-Cal reform through CalAIM (CA Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal), a program seeking to leverage Medicaid to help address the challenges facing California’s most vulnerable residents, such as homelessness and behavioral health care access.

While here, Steinberg toured an MHSA-funded recreational vehicle transformed into a mobile health clinic providing physical and behavioral health care, often to those experiencing homelessness, and visited a Transitional Age Youth Center to speak with formerly homeless youth who, through support from MHSA-funded programs, accessed behavioral health treatment and supportive housing and are now thriving. His tour also included a visit to a crisis residential and stabilization treatment center, a supportive housing project, and a roundtable discussion with County leaders and community partners.

“As the author of the Mental Health Services Act, it was incredibly rewarding to see how successfully San Bernardino County is deploying these critical resources,” said Steinberg.  Addressing unsheltered homelessness must be a top priority for local governments across our state, and San Bernardino programs are a model for other jurisdictions to utilize MHSA to address the crisis.”

“San Bernardino County was honored to welcome Mayor Steinberg to our community,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “We work hard as a county to improve the quality of life of our residents and were pleased to have the opportunity to showcase these efforts and engage in discussion about the success stories as a result of MHSA funding.”

“I was proud to demonstrate to Mayor Steinberg the great programs and projects our county is implementing thanks to the MHSA funding we receive,” said Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who chairs the San Bernardino County Interagency Council on Homelessness. “I am hopeful that the Task Force will continue working with local jurisdictions to ensure they have the flexibility to continue to delivery vital services specific to needs of our chronically homeless population.”

“MHSA disrupted the status quo surrounding behavioral health care in our state and allowed behavioral health providers like DBH to expand our service delivery model to include preventive and supportive services to address homelessness in persons living with a debilitating mental illness, which has significantly changed the trajectory of this disease,” said DBH Director Veronica Kelley. “DBH is thankful for leaders like Mayor Steinberg who are passionate about the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our community and willing to speak on and work towards creating a world where everyone is able to achieve optimum wellness.”

Since its inception in 2005, MHSA funding has allowed DBH to house over 600 people and expand preventative services to over 150,000 additional people annually.

Steinberg is the founder of Steinberg Institute and is the original co-author of Proposition 63 (also known as the MHSA), a voter-approved proposition intended to reduce the long-term adverse impact on individuals, families and state and local budgets resulting from untreated serious mental illness. Governor Newsom announced Steinberg’s role as co-chair of the Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force on May 21, 2019 and named him a ‘statewide expert’ on homelessness July 16, 2019.

In July, Dr. Thomas lnsel, the internationally-renowned neuroscientist and psychiatrist appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to be his special advisor on mental health also visited San Bernardino County.

County receives $17 million for homeless outreach program

The County Department of Behavioral Health has been approved to implement its Innovative Remote Onsite Assistance Delivery (InnROADs) program with a budget of $17 million over five years.

On Feb. 28, the department successfully presented the InnROADs project to the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission . The InnROADs project is funded through the Innovation Component of the Mental Health Services Act, also known as Prop. 63.

“We are pleased to bring such an innovative project to San Bernardino County that addresses persons who are homeless, have a serious mental illness/addiction and are living in our rural and remote areas,” said County Behavioral Health Director Veronica Kelley.

The five-year, time-limited learning project, is a multi-agency, multidisciplinary approach to engaging individuals experiencing homelessness and mental illness in rural areas of San Bernardino County. The project is a collaborative effort among four county departments – Behavioral Health, Aging and Adult Services, Public Health and the Sheriff’s Department.

The goal of the InnROADs project is to build trust, help support and care for communities and eventually link them into the appropriate system of care.

“These funds will enable a multidisciplinary team made up of our essential partners, to go into our rural and frontier areas via five off-road mobile teams, to treat in place and assist moving our homeless population into permanent supportive housing with a focus on treating their mental illness and/or addiction,” Kelley said.

Possible treatment could include counseling, medication and basic physical health screenings. Through this project services will “go to” the individuals in need, no matter where they are located within San Bernardino County.

“We have taken the lead from our stakeholders and are very excited to bring this project to life for our community,” said Office of Innovation Program Manager Karen Cervantes.  “This is a great opportunity to learn and improve the way we provide care.”

County Behavioral Health, through the Mental Health Services Act, is supporting the Countywide Vision by providing behavioral health services and ensuring residents have the resources they need to promote wellness, recovery and resilience in the community. Information on the Countywide Vision and on County Behavioral Health can be found here.

A celebration of life & resiliency for Las Vegas tragedy survivors

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Bureau of Victim Services will host two forums next week for victims of last year’s Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy.

The forums will include a group discussion facilitated by licensed clinical therapists, one-on-one counseling, educational resources, help in navigating one’s own health care services, and assistance with applying for the State of Nevada and California Victim Compensation programs. Services will be provided by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Bureau of Victim Services, the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health and The Counseling Team International.

All Services are provided free of charge. No insurance is needed.

The forums will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10 in Victorville and on Thursday, Oct. 11 in Ontario. Click here for locations and more details.

For more information, please call the Bureau of Victim Services at (909) 382-3846.

 

Project Connect event offers services to the homeless

Homeless and low-income individuals and families can access a variety of supportive services and information during the Project Connect outreach event on Wednesday, Oct. 3, hosted by the San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership and collaborative partners.

The event will provide free medical screenings, legal services, employment services, housing support services, child care information and services, senior services and more.  Additional information regarding other county services and resources will be available.

“The homeless and those at-risk of becoming homeless often lack transportation and access to mainstream services,” said County Office of Homeless Services Chief Tom Hernandez.  “This is what makes the Project Connect event, and other events that bring together providers and those seeking services to one location, so vital to these individuals and the community.”

Project Connect will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at New Beginnings, Downtown Campus (formerly St. Paul’s United Methodist Church), located at 785 N. Arrowhead Ave. in San Bernardino.

Project Connect outreach events are held periodically throughout San Bernardino County to provide a centralized service delivery location where non-profit medical and social services providers can collaborate to best serve those in need.

For additional information on this or subsequent Project Connect outreach events, contact Deanna Luttrell at (909) 386-8225 or 7-1-1 for TTY users.

The San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership works to develop countywide public and private partnerships and to coordinate services and resources to end homelessness in San Bernardino County. SBCHP is helping to achieve the Countywide Vision by working to create a sustainable system of community health, public safety, and housing. Information on the Countywide Vision, the San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership and the Community Development and Housing Agency can be found at www.sbcounty.gov.

A celebration of life & resiliency for Las Vegas tragedy survivors

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Bureau of Victim Services will host two forums next week for victims of last year’s Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy.

The forums will include a group discussion facilitated by licensed clinical therapists, one-on-one counseling, educational resources, help in navigating one’s own health care services, and assistance with applying for the State of Nevada and California Victim Compensation programs. Services will be provided by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Bureau of Victim Services, the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health and The Counseling Team International.

All Services are provided free of charge. No insurance is needed.

The forums will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10 in Victorville and on Thursday, Oct. 11 in Ontario. Click here for locations and more details.

For more information, please call the Bureau of Victim Services at (909) 382-3846.

 

 

County hosts High Desert meeting to help those impacted by the Las Vegas shooting

The Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) invites individuals and families impacted by the Las Vegas shooting to attend a supportive, no-cost mental health wellness meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Victor Valley Behavioral Health Clinic, 12625 Hesperia Road in Victorville.

The meeting will be facilitated by licensed clinical therapists trained in trauma counseling. The meeting will support attendees and allow them to listen to and share their experiences related to the shooting in a safe, comfortable group setting. One-on-one counseling services will also be available.

Attendees will also be provided with educational resources and will be aided in navigating one’s own health care services to promote a healthy adjustment to normalcy and wellness. All services will be offered free of charge and insurance is not needed.

For more information, please call the Victor Valley Behavioral Health Clinic at (760) 995-8300.

DBH, through this community resource, is helping to achieve the Countywide Vision by providing behavioral health services and ensuring residents have the resources they need to attain wellness, recovery and resilience in the community. Information on the Countywide Vision and on DBH can be found at www.sbcounty.gov

 

Mental health drop-in clinic to offer support in response to Las Vegas shooting

The San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) will open a temporary, one-day no cost mental health wellness drop-in center to assist any San Bernardino County resident experiencing increased emotional and mental distress as result of the Las Vegas shooting.

The mental health drop-in center will be located at DBH’s Mariposa Clinic, 2940 Inland Empire Blvd., in Ontario and will be open on Saturday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Confidential services will be offered free of charge and insurance is not needed. Clinic phone lines will also be staffed with crisis counselors for individuals who prefer to call in for mental health support.

“DBH understands that individuals who receive immediate access to professional mental health services after a traumatic experience healthier mental adjustments post trauma,” said DBH Director Veronica Kelley. “DBH is offering this resource to our community to promote individual and collective healing and wellness for all affected by this tragic event.”

The temporary drop-in center will provide attendees and callers with services, tools and resources designed to support a healthy adjustment to normalcy and wellness. Services will include individual private trauma counseling with a mental health professional, case management services to aid in navigating one’s own health care services and educational information on how to cope with traumatic events.

For more information on the mental health wellness drop-in center, please call DBH’s Mariposa Clinic at (909) 458-1350.

DBH, through this community resource, is supporting the Countywide Vision by providing behavioral health services and ensuring residents have the resources they need to promote wellness, recovery and resilience in the community. Information on the Countywide Vision and on DBH can be found at www.sbcounty.gov

Brilliant Behavioral Health programs earn top honors

Veronica Kelley, Department of Behavioral Health Director and NACo President Brian Desloge

A Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) program that encourages and empowers clients to conduct trainings and provide support to their peers was one of a hundred nationwide county programs selected by the National Association of Counties (NACo) as a 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work. This distinction was awarded to select programs who received a 2017 NACo Achievement Award and illustrated the top innovations in county government, including increased quality of life for its residents.

In total, DBH received two of the 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work distinctions; one for its Group Facilitator Training and another for Connections. DBH’s Group Facilitator Training provides engaging workshops to empower clients with leadership skills, enhanced self-esteem and the opportunity to become class facilitators themselves. Connections serves as a centralized resource hub for behavioral health clients, connecting them with additional supportive services within DBH and the community, supporting holistic health care.

The San Bernardino County Public Defender and San Bernardino County Probation Department also each received a 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work distinction for their programs developed in collaboration with DBH.  Public Defender’s Everyone SWIMS (Self Sufficient, Well-Being, In House, Mental Health, Services) program addresses the unnecessary hospitalization and incarceration of individuals with psychological distress and mental disorders, while Probation’s Custody to Community program provides supportive services to mentally ill and medically fragile offenders through coordination of services during the re-entry process from State and local custody to the community, effectively reducing homelessness and recidivism rates.

Each of the 100 Brilliant Ideas entries were selected from the top 2017 NACo Achievement Awards and according to NACo President Bryan Desloge, “can serve as examples for counties across the country.” Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Award Program is designed to recognize innovative county government programs. This year, DBH was awarded a total of six Achievement Awards ranging in category from children and youth, public safety, human services and volunteerism.

“DBH strives to be innovators in the field of behavioral health by designing services that reflect local needs and nationwide trends,” said DBH Director Veronica Kelley. “This award encourages our resolve to provide progressive and effective behavioral health care to the San Bernardino County community.”

DBH, through these recognitions, is supporting the Countywide Vision by providing behavioral health services that promote wellness, recovery and resilience in the community. Information on the Countywide Vision and on DBH can be found at www.sbcounty.gov/vision.

New director to lead Behavioral Health Department

Veronica KelleyThe Board of Supervisors on Tuesday appointed Assistant Behavioral Health Director Veronica Kelley to serve as department director effective Oct. 15, the same date current Director CaSonya Thomas begins her new board-appointed position as assistant executive officer in charge of Human Services.

Kelley, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, began her career with County Behavioral Health in 2009 as the department’s cultural competency officer, managing the Office of Cultural Competence and Ethnic Services, the Office of Prevention and Early Intervention and the Office of Innovation. She was deputy director over Regional Operations and Alcohol & Drug Services, and in 2013, became assistant director for the department.

“Veronica is a highly qualified professional who has the board’s full faith and confidence,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Her appointment demonstrates that the county’s pool of executive talent is strong and deep. It also demonstrates the board’s commitment to community health, well-being, and public safety.”

“It is with great excitement that I accept the position of director of Behavioral Health,” said Kelley. “In my position as assistant director, our mission of wellness, recovery and resilience is brought to life by the actions of our staff each and every day as they serve clients, fellow departments, community partners and the community at large. As director, I will continue our focus on this mission and provide high-quality behavioral health services through collaborative efforts, partnerships and transparency.  I am proud and honored by the continued opportunity to serve.”

“Throughout her career with the department, Veronica’s expertise and proficiency has greatly contributed to DBH’s mission of providing accessible and effective behavioral health services, supporting the countywide vision of creating a county in which those who reside and invest can prosper and achieve well-being,” said current Director Thomas. “I support her appointment by the Board of Supervisors and have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead the department and the valuable services it provides to the community.”

Kelley earned a master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Child Development from Mount Saint Mary’s University.  She is also a member of the Governing Board for the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California serving as the Co-Chair for the Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Committee. Kelley is also a professor at Mount Saint Mary’s, teaching in the undergraduate Social Work/Sociology/Gerontology and Film Department and as an adjunct faculty member in the MSW Program at the Loma Linda University Department of Social Work and Social Ecology.

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