Young Adult Mental Health & Substance Abuse Treatment Centers

The Shortage of Young Adult Mental Health Facilities in Southern California

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Nearly half of all young adults in California and around the country are experiencing anxiety and depression, according to new research. This age group (18–25) is struggling more than any other demographic. However, there are not enough providers or mental health facilities in Southern California to address this crisis among young people. In fact, the region has one of the worst rankings in the United States when it comes to accessing therapy for addiction and mental health in Southern California.

Southern California Mental Health Statistics 2022

According to Mental Health America (MHA)’s 2022 California mental health statistics, one in five adults in California struggles with a mental illness—nearly 6 million in total. And about 5 percent of adults report having suicidal thoughts. California also has one of the highest rates of substance abuse disorder in the nation, with 9 percent of adults reporting a substance abuse disorder in the past year.

However, the state is unable to keep up with the growing need for mental healthcare and substance abuse treatment. Among adults in the state with mental illness, 62 percent do not receive any California mental health treatment at all. This puts California well below the national average of 56 percent. Only three states (Florida, Georgia, and Hawaii) rank worse than California in terms of access to mental healthcare.

Part of the problem is a shortage of behavioral health therapy in California, as well as a limited number of anxiety and depression treatment centers in the state. More than half of Californians (52 percent) say their community does not have enough mental health providers to meet its needs. Moreover, 434,000 adults with mental illness in the state do not have California mental health insurance. For many people, that makes accessing care nearly impossible. 

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Know the Facts

Approximately two-thirds of California adults with mental health issues receive no treatment at all, according to Mental Health America’s 2022 rankings.

Top Southern California Young Adults

According to a 2022 poll of 800 California Young Adults, commissioned by the California Endowment, a statewide health foundation, ages 18–24 report the following challenges:

  • Feeling overwhelmed (77 percent)
  • Anxiety (76 percent)
  • Excessive worrying (70 percent)
  • Difficulty focusing (68 percent)
  • Isolation or loneliness (67 percent)
  • Dififculty connecting with others (56 percent)
  • Depression (54 percent)
  • Grief or loss (38 percent)
  • Suicidal thinking (31 percent)
  • Self-harm (17 percent)

In addition, the poll found that more than half of young people in California feel uncertain about the future of their generation and only 1 in 10 are excited about the future.

The Negative Impact of Social Media on Southern California Young Adults

Because Southern California is a hub of the tech industry, legislators are particularly aware of the detrimental effects of social media on young people. In 2022, California Attorney General Rob Bonta launched an investigation of TikTok and Instagram. Bonta stated that the social media companies continue to promote their platforms to teens and young adults, despite knowing that they take “a devastating toll on children’s mental health and well-being.”

In addition, two state lawmakers introduced a proposal that would allow parents in California to sue social media companies for the mental health effects of social media addiction.

‘Eco-Anxiety’ Continues to Grow in Southern California

For many young adults in Orange County and Los Angeles County, environmental issues are not only a global concern but also a personal detriment to well-being. In California, the impact of climate change includes the rising sea level, an increased risk of wildfires and drought, poor air quality, and threats to biodiversity and to the state’s agriculture industry.

This has led to what the American Psychological Association (APA) defines as “eco-anxiety”—“a chronic fear of environmental doom.” The APA stated that the impact of climate change on individuals’ quality of life “may lead to mental health impacts such as loss of a sense of control and autonomy, and feelings of helplessness, fear and fatalism.” 

High Numbers of Unhoused LGBTQ Youth in SoCal

Thousands of Southern California young adults ages 18 through 24 who homeless due to being economically and/or emotionally disconnected from their families. Among homeless youth, more than a third identify as LGBTQ, according to the California Coalition for Youth, one of the primary Southern California mental health associations. Moreover, LGBTQ young adults are two to four times as likely to report depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts, as compared to those with stable housing.

Know the Facts

The city of Los Angeles has the second-highest homeless population in the country.

Newport Institute’s Residential and Outpatient Mental Health Treatment in Southern California 

Newport Institute is responding to the shortage of care for young adults by expanding our outpatient and residential mental health treatment in Orange County and the Los Angeles area. Serving young adults ages 18–32, our long-term California mental health treatment centers address the underlying trauma and attachment wounds that catalyze young adult depression, anxiety, PTSD, and co-occurring disorders like substance abuse, social media and tech addiction, and eating disorders. Our Southern California mental health facilities provide comprehensive and individualized care proven to lead to successful outcomes

In addition, Newport accepts insurance to cover our Southern California behavioral health services. At Newport Institute, we work with most major insurance companies, both In-Network and out of network, including the most popular SoCal mental health insurance plans. Our team is highly experienced in negotiating Single-Case Agreements that allow our treatment to be covered even when we are not In-Network with a young adult’s or family’s health plan. Our goal is to optimize access to care for young adults in order to address the California mental health crisis.

Specialized Care for Young Adults at Our Southern California Mental Health Treatment Centers

Each client in our primary mental health facilities in Southern California receives a tailored treatment plan, designed by a team of medical and behavioral healthcare experts. Young adults’ daily schedules include a variety of evidence-based clinical and experiential modalities, as well as academic and life skills programming to support educational and career goals. Treatment is provided in a supportive, compassionate environment where young adults can connect with peers and mentors, ending the loneliness and depression that is so prevalent among today’s young people. 

Newport Institute’s licensed clinicians specialize in treating trauma and related issues through proven modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, EFT, and EMDR. Our approach builds autonomy for young adults while involving family in the healing process. We use the groundbreaking Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) model to repair parent-child relationships. ABFT work helps young adults feel safe going to their parents for support when they are struggling. This strengthened foundation becomes a launching pad for building a more independent life and authentic relationships outside the family. 

Learn More About Newport Institute in Southern California

Contact us today to learn more about our clinical model and our long-term mental health facilities in Southern California for ages 18–32. Our Admissions team will take you through a psychological assessment and a review of your California mental health insurance at no charge. We will guide you in finding the best mental health facilities for your needs—whether that’s Newport Institute or another California mental health treatment center. 

Get started today on the path to healing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does California rank in mental health care?
Among adults in the state with mental illness, 62 percent do not receive any California mental health treatment at all. This puts California well below the national average of 56 percent. Only three states (Florida, Georgia, and Hawaii) rank worse than California in terms of access to mental healthcare.

How can I get mental health help in California?
Contact your healthcare provider or call a local outpatient clinic. You can also contact Newport Institute. Our Clinical Outreach Team in California helps young adults and families find the right level of care, whether it’s at one of our programs in Orange County or Los Angeles County, or another program we have personally vetted.


J Adolesc Health. 2022 Jun; 70(6): 985–988.

Newport Institute

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