On March 16, the Rotary Club of Westchester honored AMCS and CEO Eden Garcia-Balis with the 2019 Citizen of the Year Award. The Kentucky Derby-themed event, held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Westchester, celebrated AMCS's 58 years of providing low-cost mental health services to the community and the on-going partnership between the two organizations.

In accepting the awards, Eden and AMCS Board President Erika Puzik each thanked Rotarians for the work they do in the community and said they appreciated the support of AMCS's board of directors, staff, therapists and, of course, the Westchester Mental Health Guild, all of which were represented at the event.

Rotary President Tori Hettinger said Eden and AMCS were chosen because of the clinic's efforts to provide needed services to the Westchester area and beyond. She said Rotarians were especially impressed by the new LGBT Affirmative Therapy Center, one of only a handful of centers of its kind in Los Angeles.


'Am I depressed?': How teens can find mental health help online

Teens don't need to read the headlines to know that they and too many of their peers are feeling lonely, sad, anxious, and suicidal. Recent headlines, however, confirm what's happening in their lives.  

This week, a Pediatrics study documented a 28 percent increase in psychiatric visits to the emergency room for American youth. The research, which looked at survey data collected between 2011 and 2015, found even higher rates of increased visits for adolescents and African American and Hispanic youth. The rate of suicide-related visits more than doubled. 

"This study unmistakably reveals that adolescents are a population with urgent mental health needs," the study's authors wrote. 


California colleges expand mental health services to meet rising needs

With heightened awareness of college students’ psychological stress, worried state officials and campus leaders in California are providing more money and expanding programs to promote mental health.

The colleges and universities say the extra funding and efforts are needed to serve the unprecedented numbers of college students seeking help for depression, anxiety, eating disorders and, in some cases, suicidal tendencies. Setting new record highs, about 13 percent of all University of California students and 16 percent of those at the California State University received some psychological counseling or treatment on campuses last year.

In reaction, schools are hiring more counselors and therapists and starting less traditional and less costly alternatives such as peer discussion groups and online classes that teach ways to relax, improve study habits and counter anxiety.