Increasing and improving mental and behavioral health resources for Coachella Valley residents has long been a priority for the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation Board.
Since 2018, when the District and Foundation launched a Behavioral Health Initiative, the Board has allocated $3 million to support behavioral health services and programs. That was followed in 2019 with a valley-wide behavioral health needs assessment, commissioned by the District and Foundation.
The assessment provided insight and prompted the development of a behavioral health improvement plan. In 2021, the District and Foundation took important steps to advance this effort:
* Jana Trew was hired as the District and Foundation's Senior Program Officer - Behavioral Health to provide direction and support in realizing Board-approved policies.
* A new five-year strategic plan, adopted by the Board, included as its No. 3 goal: to proactively expand community access to behavioral/mental health services.
* Ms. Trew began meeting with various behavioral health and community leaders from the valley and Riverside County to identify stakeholders, services, and challenges related to behavioral health.
After a year of intensive groundwork involving 60 stakeholders in working groups and a steering committee, the Coachella Valley Behavioral Health Collective was established in 2023 by the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation and Riverside University Health System - Behavioral Health. District and Foundation CEO Conrado Barzaga and RUHS - Behavioral Health Director Dr. Matthew Chang co-chair its steering committee.
The Collective now has a range of community representation with 38 participating organizations. Their expertise includes education, healthcare, civic leadership, youth support, and more.
- Collaborating with community partners to address current and future behavioral health needs
- Improving access to behavioral health services and resources for all Coachella Valley residents