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The High Desert Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center (BHUCC), at 415 E. Avenue I in Lancaster, is now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help address the massive surge in demand for rapid mental health treatment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The facility is open to individuals ages 13 and older who are experiencing psychiatric crises. The new 9,900-square-foot center is located adjacent to the High Desert Regional Health Center.

“The opening of this short-term treatment facility comes at a critical time. It is providing essential, urgent mental health and substance use disorder services to those who need it for crises, and that need has only grown during the course of the pandemic,” said LA County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) Director Dr. Jonathan E. Sherin.

The 24/7 center is funded by LACDMH and is the first of its kind to serve Antelope Valley communities.

“I am so pleased to open the High Desert Mental Health Urgent Care Center to serve youth and adults with critical mental health assessments, interventions, and medication support,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. “Through our partnership with our operator, Star View Behavioral Health and the Department of Mental Health, we are working together to ensure patients and their families are supported and connected during times of crises.”

By expanding access to around-the-clock care for those experiencing a mental health crisis, the BHUCC was created to also alleviate the impact on hospital emergency rooms that are not equipped to deal with mental health-related issues.

Services are provided without regard to ability to pay, primarily through Medi-Cal and County funds.

Many individuals are experiencing heightened mental health issues due to COVID-19 and the stress of economic uncertainty. Calls to the LACDMH Help Line reportedly increased more than 35 percent in 2020, compared to 2019. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report of U.S. adults showed 41.5 percent of respondents have faced mental health challenges and increased anxiety or depression related to COVID-19.

For more information, contact (661) 522-6770 or visit https://www.starsinc.com/bhucc-highdesert/.