For months there has been mystery surrounding construction on Sanborn Road and Circle Drive in the Laurel Heights area of Salinas.
Community officials put speculation to rest. A mental health facility is coming to East Salinas.
A community meeting was held near the construction site, where residents were presented plans and details for the new facility. Those in attendance expressed the hope that these years of development will have a positive impact on local youth and Salinas families.
Marni Sandoval, deputy director of behavioral health in Monterey County, says about 150 staff members are expected to do their part in the facility, as well as their work on school campuses and home visits.
“The community we’re bringing the facility to has been asking for it for the kids,” Sandoval said.
According to Sandoval, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted children’s mental health.
According to CDC data, from March to October 2020, emergency room visits related to mental health increased 24% for children ages 5 to 11 and 31% for children ages 12 to 17, compared to emergency room visits. aid in 2019.
“Being forced to find shelter and not be in school with other kids there has really affected social development,” she said. “We’re seeing that mental health status is really critically increasing, pushing many young people into crisis levels and impacting their families.”