Be Well Orange County (OC) celebrated the opening of its new facility Jan. 13 with a virtual ribbon cutting.
This facility is the first of what’s expected to be three buildings for Be Well OC, an organization that serves as a countywide commitment to creating a best-in-class system of mental health care.
The virtual ceremony featured various Orange County officials, including Be Well OC chief executive Marshall Moncrief.
“Opening this first Be Well OC campus on schedule, and undeterred by the pandemic, shows our shared determination and our shared success despite the difficulties, and it demonstrates the power and the potential of this Be Well OC community partnership,” Moncrief said during the event.
The organization was created through a public-private partnership of government agencies, private health care organizations, faith-based organizations, and more, to try to solve the mental health crisis.
“The Be Well OC Orange campus that we are celebrating today … will serve as a cornerstone in building a world-class system of mental health care and a new reality for our county,” said Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do.
“And while our work on building out our system of care is far from over, we are committed to continuing our collaborative efforts and partnerships that have contributed so significantly to our progress.”
The campus will enable patients suffering from substance abuse to be admitted and stabilized. They’ll then receive advice for long-term sobriety options.
“This campus is the first of its kind, leading the nation on access to mental health care,” said Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner. “What sets Be Well apart from other treatment centers is the remarkable continuity of care under one roof, which will help reduce stress for individuals who are already managing challenging times.”
The building will also offer crisis stabilization services, a sobering and recovery station, residential substance use treatment services, withdrawal management, crisis residential services, and co-occurring residential services for mental health disorders.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Be Well can help reduce tension between individuals with mental health problems and law enforcement.
“What’s most important about this campus is it provides alternatives for law enforcement to take those in need and in crisis, other than bringing them to jail,” Barnes said. “This strategy also allows families experiencing crisis through mental illness or substance use disorders to bring [patients] to treatment rather than taking them to hospitals, and [it] allows for an early intervention long before a crisis manifests into a law enforcement action.”
The $40 million project was funded in various parts, with $16.6 million coming from the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2019. From there, $11.4 million was given by Cal Optima, and the final $12 million came from donations.