Santa Clara County begins construction on behavioral health services center

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California Construction News staff writer

Construction started last week on the Child, Adolescent, and Adult Behavioral Health Services Center at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) campus in San Jose – a first-of-its-kind facility in the South Bay.

“This is the kind of acute care facility we’ve long needed in Santa Clara County for young people in crisis — a sanctuary where they can safely begin to heal, close to home,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian. “It’s clearly better for these kids to be close to their community when they’re in crisis — close to their family, their friends, and their own local health mental health providers.

“This is about troubled 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. This goes to the heart of community health and wellness.”

When the board approved the construction of the new center in 2017, 689 Santa Clara County youth were admitted to out-of-area psychiatric hospitals, staying for an average of six days in facilities often far away from home.

The new facility will be unique in that it will house multiple programs under one roof, providing one centralized location to support the needs of everyone who relies on the County for this level of care. The center will consolidate and integrate behavioral health services now provided elsewhere throughout the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center campus into a new building with:

  • 77 in-patient beds, including 14 beds for children and 21 beds for adolescents
  • Emergency Psychiatric Services for children and adolescents
  • Mental Health Urgent Care for children and adolescents
  • 42 adult inpatient psychiatric beds and services, Emergency Psychiatric Services, and Urgent Care Services in a separate, secured part of the building
  • A pharmacy
  • A new parking structure

The new center will include the first county-operated inpatient facility specifically for children and adolescents in need of behavioral health care – as well a separate floor for adults – with inpatient and outpatient medical and psychiatric care, emergency psychiatric services, intake and assessment, crisis care, and urgent care.

The groundbreaking last week signaled the official start of construction on the $422 million Child, Adolescent, and Adult Behavioral Health Services Center on the SCVMC campus in San José. The new 207,000 sq. ft. facility is expected to be completed by fall 2025.

Rovina Nimbalkar, Executive Director of the Santa Clara County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, called the center a welcome and crucial new advancement for mental health treatment in the South Bay.

“This new center provides something that NAMI’s members have long looked forward to – easier access to life-changing services,” Nimbalkar said. “Now our youth can get the help they need close to home, close to the support networks they have and need to achieve better mental health.”

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