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Antelope Valley Medical Center Marks the 45th Anniversary of Caring for the Mental Health Needs of Local Residents

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(LANCASTER, Calif.) — In January 1971, Antelope Valley Medical Center (AVMC) opened the area’s first and only in-patient mental health unit. Responding to a clear community need, Dr. John Beck, a psychiatrist, led the effort to allow local residents to access the mental health services they need without having to leave the Antelope Valley. That goal remains today.

Over the years, the mental health unit has experienced many changes to meet community need and adapt to market forces. Today, the unit includes 30 licensed beds and offers care for a range of mental health needs, including schizophrenia, depression and substance abuse. The unit serves hundreds of local residents every year.

“Our goal is to help patients get through a crisis and provide them with the right interventions and therapies aimed at getting them back to their routines and daily activities,” said AVMC Compliance Officer Vikki Haley, RN, MS, CCP, who has been involved with the hospital’s mental health unit for 35 years. “In addition to the care we provide at AVMC, we work with a variety of community partners to help people continue in a positive direction long after they’ve left the hospital.”

According to the California Healthcare Foundation, nearly one in six adults in California has a mental health need, and approximately one in 20 suffers from a serious mental illness. The Antelope Valley has a particularly high incidence of depression and an above-average suicide rate.

“These statistics underscore the need for mental health services right here in our community, a role that AVMC has been proud to play for the past 45 years and into the future,” noted Haley.

About Antelope Valley Medical Center

Antelope Valley Medical Center, a 420-bed district hospital located in the city of Lancaster in northern Los Angeles County, has been serving the community for more than 60 years. The area’s only full-service hospital, AVMC provides a full array of medical/surgical services, pediatric treatment, NICU, mental health, cancer care and more. It is a Level II trauma center, Accredited Chest Pain Center and Advanced Primary Stroke Center. More information is available at or by calling 661-949-5000. Like us on Facebook at