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New Behavioral Health Center breaks ground in Watsonville

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION-TV): More help is on the way for youth and adults who experience substance use disorder in Santa Cruz County.

The Department of Health Care gave Encompass Community Services more than $9.3 million to help break ground on a new facility in Watsonville.

The center, called Si Se Puede Behavioral Health Center, will be built on Miles Lane in the city. It will expand existing resources and treatment for anyone who is struggling with a substance use disorder.

Lisa Marquez lost her only son because of a fentanyl overdose back in 2020.

She said having more behavioral health centers in the Central Coast is important.

"We need more mental health centers to help the kids and adults, once they are stuck in this pattern of addiction to help them get off." said Marquez.

The Si Se Puede Behavioral Health Center will have two facilities. The adult residential treatment facility for substance use disorder will have 30 beds.

7 beds are reserved for transition-aged youth and an outpatient substance use disorder treatment facility. It will also offer a medical clinic with full-spectrum therapy and treatment spaces.

In a statement, the CEO of Encompass Community Services, Monica Martinez said “The new Sí Se Puede center allows us to continue to deliver on our mission of health equity for all, through the expansion of both residential and outpatient treatment services for youth and adults."

Something that people who live in Watsonville said is important for the community.

"At the same time, to give these people a second chance at life and just help them get their lives together." said Jaime Flores.

And for people like Marquez, she said she is advocating to have more resources when it comes to substance abuse, so more mothers won't have to go through what she went through.

"I don't want to see another mom go through this pain that I have to live with every day, and the thought of living the rest of my life without my son is unbearable sometimes." said Marquez.

The Superintendent for OTTO construction, the company that will be building the new behavioral health center said hopefully they'll have the building permit by next month to start construction. The center is expected to open by Fall 2025.

The Department of Health Care Services said with the recently approved Proposition 1 bonds, in 2025 and 2026, even more behavioral health treatment facilities will be funded and built.

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Nataly Gutierrez


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