Educator Calls on Communities to Support Mental Health Services for Teens and Young Adults
Jose Campos joins theServiceStation podcast to highlight solutions in Riverside County—from early intervention to the Public Guardian
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif.— A longtime education leader and mental health advocate is highlighting the wide range of mental health services available to teens and young adults in Riverside County, while calling on communities to continue erasing stigma and barriers to mental health care.
“Providers, school districts and community partners are taking a more proactive approach to identifying and addressing mental health needs early on,” Jose Campos told theServiceStation, a podcast produced by the Department of Public Social Services.
Campos, a school district administrator in western Riverside County and a recent Behavioral Health Commissioner, said the focus has shifted away from waiting for a crisis to happen to serving the whole person, their family and community before a crisis escalates and increases the trauma and long-term consequences.
“The more mental health services are readily available, the more they’re normalized. That helps reduce stigma,” Campos says. “We are paying close attention to the impacts the pandemic and other pressures are having on our older teens and young adults.
A study, published in April 2022 in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found about half of young adults had mental health symptoms during the pandemic. Youth who are homeless, in foster care, or identify as LGBTQ are most at-risk. They are among the youth Campos advocates for and those served by social service and behavioral health providers, who often collaborate to improve access to help.
Campos said mental health services are designed to meet the needs of residents with mild conditions to those who are suffering from the most severe. In rare cases, Campos says the court appoints the Public Guardian to ensure the dignity and rights of those who are incapacitated and have nobody else to act in their best interest. The Public Guardian currently serves about 300 county residents, most of them seniors with severe limitations and a small number of young adults with significant cognitive impairments.
“The Public Guardian brings the highest level of service and a deep commitment to safeguarding the rights and dignity of those who have nobody else to act in their best interest and to make sure they get the services they need,” Campos said. “We want to ensure we are serving the needs of everybody.”
Riverside County residents can call the free and confidential CARES Line at 1-800-499-3008 to learn more about services or visit Riverside University Health System-Behavioral Health online at https://www.rcdmh.org
To learn more about available Riverside County social services visit www.rivcodpss.org
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