Help is on the way for people in the grip of a mental health crisis in Culver City and surrounding communities
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas led the ceremonial reopening of the Westside Mental Health Urgent Care Clinic (UCC) at 11444 W. Washington Blvd., just across the street from the Culver City DMV. It is expected to serve almost 5,900 people a year, starting Dec. 10, 2015.
“It is so important that people in crisis have a place to turn to, where they can feel safe and welcome,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “The County’s mental health urgent care centers are part of broader strategy to build a more compassionate community.”
“At the Westside UCC, people in crisis can get help to avoid harming themselves or others around them, preventing needless violence in the community,” he added.
Operated by Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health contractor Exodus Recovery Inc., the 4,800-sq. ft. Westside UCC will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. About three dozen staffers will be on site, providing medication evaluation and management, mental health assessment, crisis intervention and discharge planning.
“The mental health UCC serves as an important continuum of care component, providing 24/7 access to stabilization services to those in an emotional crisis,” said the county’s Mental Health Acting Director, Robin Kay, Ph.D. “The goal is to prevent unnecessary hospitalization, stabilize people in the community and link to needed services.”
Westside UCC is the second facility of its kind in the Second District, following the February 2015 opening of the 8,000-sq. ft. MLK Mental Health Urgent Care Center at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus in Willowbrook. Exodus operates both.
Another mental health urgent care center is expected to open at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, also in the Second District. Together, they would account for half the total number of such facilities countywide.
In September, the Board called for establishing an Office of Diversion of Reentry that would ensure persons with mental illness are directed toward services, housing and recovery – instead of jail. The Westside UCC and facilities like it will serve as a place for law enforcement officers to triage those in crisis.
During fiscal year 2014-2015, the County’s mental health urgent care centers handled almost 30,000 crisis visits. That includes more than 2,000 homeless persons and almost 1,000 children and young adults involved in the child welfare system.