Home Main Category Announcements New Stabilization Unit Opening For Children, Teens Experiencing Psychiatric Emergencies

New Stabilization Unit Opening For Children, Teens Experiencing Psychiatric Emergencies


From Contra Costa Health:

Children and adolescents having psychiatric emergencies will have their own standalone 24/7 behavioral health crisis stabilization space in Contra Costa County starting Monday, June 24.

The new Contra Costa Youth Stabilization Unit in Martinez will serve people ages 6-17 for the first 24 hours of a diagnosed psychiatric emergency when they are considered a danger to themselves or others.

Until now, youth in the county experiencing psychiatric emergencies were treated alongside adults in the Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) unit at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center. Children and teens will now be able to receive developmentally appropriate emergency psychiatric care in a dedicated space designed for pediatric patients that is separate from the adult PES.

“This is a huge step forward for mental healthcare for youth in our community,” said Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Chair Federal Glover. “Having a dedicated standalone space for children and adolescents will provide our kids with a more safe, secure and therapeutic environment to help them heal.”

The Youth Stabilization Unit, located at 25 Allen Street next to the Miller Wellness Center, will be able to serve up to eight minors at a time. In 2023, there were 1,072 admissions for pediatric psychiatric patients at the PES unit. The majority of those admitted were adolescents and young teens who presented with depression and suicidal ideation or intent.

Contra Costa Health has contracted with Pacific Clinics to staff the new unit. Care teams will include psychiatrists, registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, licensed psychiatric technicians, clinicians and crisis intervention specialists. Services will include crisis intervention, mental health assessment, medication assistance, therapy, alcohol and drug screening, case management and peer support.

The program is designed to provide a calming and welcoming environment to support mental wellness. The goal is to stabilize the unit’s patients and connect them with mental health services without requiring inpatient hospitalization, although, when clinically appropriate, inpatient care may still be recommended.

Many children and adolescents suffering mental health crises are either hospitalized or arrested, which can be even further destabilizing. Having a team of mental health professionals available to provide crisis stabilization at the new facility will help divert youth from unnecessary encounters with law enforcement or visits to hospital emergency rooms.

“The new Crisis Stabilization Unit will give youth experiencing a behavioral health crisis compassionate care tailored to their needs,” said Suzanne Tavano, Behavioral Health director for Contra Costa Health. “It is going to be a tremendous resource for our community.”

“Our team’s primary goals are to provide support and safety to these young individuals in a time of crisis,” said Mary Sheppard, regional executive director for Pacific Clinics. “We will be a therapeutic, landing spot for them and aim to instill in them the belief that there is hope beyond this moment.”


  1. It is way too late to put the Social Media “genie” back into the bottle. Our obsession with devices and screens have taken a toll, especially upon our young people. Jean Twenge and Jonathan Haidt, as well as others have laid it out.

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