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Selma Healthcare District and Adventist Health partner to better meet mental health needs


SELMA, CALIFORNIA – Depression. Anxiety. Suicidal thoughts. Every month, more than 500 adults and children seek care for mental health issues in the Adventist Health hospital and clinics in Selma.

To better serve those patients and others, the Selma Healthcare District and Adventist Health are partnering on a $222,000 yearlong pilot project to better coordinate mental health care in the community. The district is committing $100,000 and Adventist Health is dedicating the remaining funds toward a two-person clinical team to assess and treat patients and direct them to local resources more quickly.

“Addressing mental health issues goes beyond one person or one organization,” said Dr. Raul Ayala, Ambulatory Medical Officer for the Adventist Health system. “It takes a community. By partnering with us, the Selma Healthcare District will help thousands of patients get the right care at the right time and place to meet their needs more quickly and thoroughly.”

The district board voted unanimously in June to award the funds to Adventist Health. “This is great,” Board Member Rosemary Alanis said at the meeting. “That’s what we’re here for, to move forward and partner for the health of the community.”

The funds will be used to hire a licensed clinical social worker to care for patients in Adventist Health’s emergency department, Selma clinics and mobile clinic visits in Selma. Faster emergency department assessments will allow patients to get the care they need more quickly rather than waiting for a transfer, which can take more than a day. The social worker can also direct patients for follow-up care at a clinic in town to meet their needs on an ongoing basis and promote long-term healing. At the clinic, a medical assistant will be dedicated to supporting referred mental health patients with their needs.