Kudos to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for authorizing a $14.3 million contract to expand mental health services at the County’s High Desert Regional Health Center.

On Tuesday, the Board voted to approve the contract that would pay for construction of a 9,900-square-foot, 24-hour mental health urgent care building. It will adjoin the five-year-old county health center in Central Lancaster and will provide services for Antelope Valley patients who now must travel to the county’s Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar.

Supervisory Kathryn Barger, who pushed for the creation of the new facility said the center will offer services that AV healthcare professionals have long asked for, locally.

“It’s imperative the county continue to enhance resources in the Antelope Valley,” she was quoted as saying in the Wednesday report in the Antelope Valley Press.

We couldn’t agree with her more. Enhanced mental health services are definitely something the Antelope Valley needs.

But more importantly, the services offered will be close to home, which means residents won’t have to travel “down below” to seek help — they can get it right here in the Antelope Valley.

This could be a determining factor for many who are reluctant to travel to Sylmar or perhaps don’t have a way to get there.

In addition to the services being offered, it’s great that the health center will be open around-the-clock and will serve adults, children and teens.

Some of the services offered will be diagnosis, evaluation treatment, referrals, consultation, community services, crisis intervention/stabilization, medication support and case management.

Ground will be broken for the new building in January and the project is expected to reach completion by September 2020, so for a few more months, at least, those in need of mental health services will still have to travel to Sylmar.

In the meantime, an informational meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Dec. 11 at High Desert Regional Health Center, 335 East Ave. I, for those interested in learning more about this project and the services that will be offered.

We encourage anyone who might need the services or know someone who does, to attend the meeting. We cannot stress enough what a huge step this is in the right direction, to address mental health issues.

Perhaps with convenient locations in the Antelope Valley, those who have previously gone undiagnosed or untreated will seek help because of the easy access to these types of resources.

It’s no secret that many of the homeless population suffer from some sort of mental health issue or addiction. Perhaps this could be an avenue for them to get treated, as well, and get off the street.

We look forward to this urgent care building being constructed and hope that it serves the Antelope Valley and its residents well.

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