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Advancing Community wellness in the Coachella Valley

Behavioral Health

CEO Statement


The Desert Healthcare District and Foundation Board took a significant step Tuesday, July 26, approving $1,175,817 in grants for behavioral health programs and services in the Coachella Valley.

The action follows the Healthcare District's release of a Request for Proposals on May 2, which emphasized identifying and addressing the behavioral health needs of valley children (0 to 18 years old) and their families. The grantees, which range from schools to a homeless shelter, propose to use the funds to provide ongoing and new services that aim to expand community access to behavioral/mental health services.

These grants are expected to be the first round of funding awarded to improve access to behavioral healthcare. Contracts are scheduled to begin August 1.

"Behavioral healthcare has always been an important part of the overall health and wellness of residents at every age, and it is especially important at this time for children and young adults affected by the isolation and uncertainty of the pandemic, social media, and other challenges they face," said Dr. Conrado Bárzaga, Desert Healthcare District and Foundation CEO. "These grants from the Healthcare District are a first step in helping Coachella Valley families to heal and move into a brighter, more hopeful future."

Learn which nonprofits received the first round of behavioral health grants.

Back to School

Coachella Valley students, like their peers across the U.S., face many behavioral health challenges. They range from adapting to in-person learning with evolving protective measures after more than a year of COVID-19 isolation to fears about unpredictable violence on campus, to the perils of social media. 
The valley's three public school districts have resources in place to help students and their parents or guardians address these concerns. The resources include guidelines on what students should do if they feel unsafe at school, a suicide prevention hotline, and other social and wellness assistance. Check them out:

Workforce Expansion

One of the tenets of the Coachella Valley Behavioral Health Initiative, a regional collaborative effort to address behavioral health needs in the valley, is to increase the number of behavioral health professionals. The plan is to do it primarily through career and educational opportunities. Olive Crest, in partnership with California Baptist University, offers such an opportunity.
Valley residents can earn a Master of Social Work degree from the university through in-person classes at Olive Crest in Palm Desert. Tuition assistance may also be available.
Olive Crest is a nonprofit and grantee of the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation that works to prevent child abuse by strengthening, equipping and transforming families in crisis. 

Connect I E

Locating linkage information on the variety of health and wellness services that are available to Coachella Valley residents, including behavioral health and COVID-19 resources, please visit The services are low-cost or free. 

Meet Jana Trew

Jana Trew joined the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation staff in 2021 as the senior program officer for behavioral health. Ms. Trew brings to the job more than a decade of professional experience with an emphasis on behavioral health support services in Southern California. Notably, starting in 2008 with Victor Community Support Services, she managed programs and services focused on transitional youth, developed and executed services for children and families with a $15 million annual budget, and provided oversight of the coordination and delivery of services as a regional director in Los Angeles. She holds a counseling in psychology masters of science degree from California Baptist University. 

Sharing Your Story Can Make A Difference

Having conversations with trusted messengers is a helpful first step when exploring help for yourself or a loved one. The Take My Hand (Riverside University Health System - Behavioral Health) supportive chat program is designed to assist with questions or the sharing of experiences related to mental health assistance. Please follow this link.

Community Partner: DAP Health Patient Testimonial

Help is available and can have an impact on the lives of those who accept the support along the path to wellness. Below is a testimonial by a client of DAP Health, a grantee of the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation, who is sharing their experience with recovery:

"I've been an HIV+ patient at DAP for four years. My physical health is at its best thanks to the attentive care of DAP's Anthony Velasco, senior nurse practitioner specialist, MSN, AGHPNP-BC, AAHIVS and his nurse Karen. My mental health is also better now than it has ever been in 63 years thanks to the incredibly knowledgeable, educated and experienced Ryan Halquist, Psy.D.  He saved my life twice ... actually. I've been in therapy since age 15 and now (48 years later) I am progressing. I am alive today because of Dr. Halquist and Velasco at DAP ... no doubt about it. Thank you DAP!"
-- September 2021