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Home / Neighborhood / Orange County / OC invests in mental health, substance use disorder services

OC invests in mental health, substance use disorder services

by Staff
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The Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $40 million agreement with nonprofit Mind OC to provide mental health and substance use disorder services in Irvine, the county announced last week.

The approval allows Be Well OC to expand its mental health and addiction therapy services to Orange County residents in collaboration with the OC Health Care Agency’s Behavioral Health System.
“Orange County is a place where community members can find support, resources, and hope on their journey to mental health wellness. I am grateful we can extend the reach of our County’s Behavioral Health System,” board Chairman Donald P. Wagner said in a statement. “Our expanding partnership with the Be Well campuses will provide best-in-class clinical services for mental health and substance use for children, adolescents, adults and families.”
Specific services funded that will be provided at Be Well’s Irvine campus include:

  • Sobering Center
  • Adult Clinically Managed Withdrawal Management
  • Adult Substance Use Disorder Residential Treatment
  • Adult Co-Occurring Residential Treatment
  • Adolescent Residential SUD Treatment
  • Perinatal SUD Residential Treatment
  • Adult Crisis Stabilization Unit
  • Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit

“Orange County is leading the way in Behavioral Health with the expansion of Be Well OC, co-locating mental health care and substance use disorder services all under one roof — something not yet done in the state,” Vice Chairman Doug Chaffee said in a statement. “We are breaking down barriers towards accessing mental health services and serving as a model for other counties to build upon.”
The Irvine campus is currently under construction and is expected to open in May 2025, has been supported through a variety of stakeholders and partners, according to the county. Funding for the campus includes $40 million approved by the county board, $15 million approved by the CalOptima Health Board of Directors, $37.6 million from the state Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program secured by the OC Health Care Agency, $12 million secured by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Irvine, $2 million in federal funds secured by Rep. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, along with additional investments from MemorialCare, Hoag and Kaiser Permanente. 
“In 2015, through the Orange County Board of Supervisors Mental Health Ad Hoc Committee, we reexamined local mental health services, leading to the creation of the first Be Well OC campus in Orange,” 5th District Supervisor Andrew Do said in a statement. “With this second, substantially larger facility in Irvine, Be Well OC has solidified its place as a public-private partnership model for our state and the rest of the country.”
The Be Well OC Irvine campus is on 22 acres of county-owned property that was formerly Marine Corps Air Station El Toro at 8001 Marine Way.

The long-term plan for the new campus is to offer a full spectrum of mental health, addiction and wellness services for children, adolescents, families and adults including from urgent care, residential treatment and community wellness support.
“Orange County has become a leader in transforming behavioral health care,” 2nd District Supervisor Vicente Sarmiento said in a statement. “The new campus in Irvine, developed in partnership between the Orange County Health Care Agency and Mind OC, will help us fulfill our commitment to providing the quality treatment every patient deserves, regardless of their financial circumstances. I am pleased to see the expansion of these services, which will increase accessibility for everyone in need.”
The Irvine facility will be built in three areas, starting with Area 1 which has about 75,000 square feet of building space to base an rage of adult services such as “crisis stabilization mental health urgent care,” a sobering center plus residential and outpatient programs, officials said.
“Hope starts here in Orange County. Our vision for transforming the mental health system of care for South County’s children, youth and families continue to grow at the Be Well Irvine Campus,” 5th District Supervisor Katrina Foley said in a statement. “With doors opening next year, residents of all economic levels will soon have access to critical mental health and substance use treatment while offering a place for families to support their loved ones in crisis. This latest expansion of services at the Be Well Irvine Campus proves Orange County’s commitment to fostering health, wellness, and resiliency programs for our community.”  
Area 2 will be for child, youth and perinatal specialty programs, expanding both residential and outpatient services capacity while supporting the entire family, according to the county. Area 3 will provide classroom space, “centralized support and navigation services,” space for community meetings, faith and culture events and senior centers, officials said. 
“Be Well OC represents systems change that makes mental health care accessible to all,” Rick Afable, MindOC board chair, said in a statement. “We appreciate County of Orange and the OC Health Care Agency leadership and the support of our many public, private, academic and faith-based partners who are part of the Be Well movement. The Board’s approval of the MSA accelerates the expansion of Be Well’s programs and services, building upon the success of those offered at our Orange campus. By incorporating additional mental health and substance use disorder programs tailored for children, adolescents, pregnant women and families, we will continue to change the conversation about mental health and wellness in Orange County and beyond.”

Dr. Veronica Kelley, OC Health Care Agency Director, added, “Our Be Well OC collaboration represents yet another crucial step forward in our continuing commitment to comprehensive mental health and substance use disorder services for Orange County residents. Partnering to provide a wide range of programs tailored to various age groups and needs, we are fostering a community where support and resources are readily accessible to all.”
In addition to clinical services, the Irvine facility will provide “wrap-around wellness support” to families and the entire community, including a health care collective that integrates public and private health systems countywide “with youth and community education and enrichment,” officials said. Be Well OC services will be available to all county residents regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

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