A groundbreaking was held Wednesday at the future site of a mental health center that will be the first of its kind in the county.

Orange County supervisors and various healthcare leaders participated in the ceremony at 265 Anita Drive in Orange.

“Today marks a momentous occasion in Orange County’s history as we celebrate the public-private partnership between the county of Orange and our healthcare partners,” said Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett.

In January, the board approved $16.6 million for development of the 60,000-square-foot Be Well OC Behavioral Health Services campus. The project is expected to cost $40 million, with the county and other local mental health stakeholders such as Kaiser Permanente, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, Providence St. Joseph Health and CalOptima expected to chip in the rest.

The goal of the project is to establish a coordinated, countywide behavioral health service system.

Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do said the facility will help in the county’s efforts to reduce homelessness.

“There’s no doubt that our state’s lack of mental health treatment facilities has exacerbated our state’s homeless crisis,” Do said. “This mental health facility is another important component in our effort to address homelessness.”

Officials expect the facility, which will provide an array of mental health services regardless of a patient’s ability to pay, to open next fall.

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