ACS provides four different mental health support programs: on-campus counseling in Palo Alto’s middle and high schools, community counseling open to families and other members of the community, outpatient substance abuse treatment and “Outlet,” a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) youth support group. The new Redwood City location offers all but the on-campus counseling service.
“We were at our [Palo Alto] location for five years, and when it came time to renew our lease, our landlord was looking at a significant rent increase that we just couldn’t justify or afford,” ACS Advancement and Marketing Director Aarika Riddle said.
Although ACS initially kept their searched for a new location in Palo Alto, they were forced to expand their considerations to include surrounding cities, as none of the locations in Palo Alto fit their needs or budget.
“We want to make sure that the majority of our expenses are going towards services, and not things like rent,” Riddle said. “We expanded our search a little bit and found this space in Redwood City, which is working out really well for us.”
However, many Palo Alto residents are concerned that this relocation will inhibit their access to readily-available counseling within their community.
Nevertheless, Riddle believes that due to the continued presence of ACS in Palo Alto’s schools, as well as their shared office spaces which remain open in the afternoons and evenings in Palo Alto, residents will be able to easily reach ACS counselors and services.
“We still have five counseling offices in Palo Alto to provide our community counseling program as well as our substance abuse treatment program,” Riddle said. “So as far as services go for Palo Alto residents, nothing will really change for them, we are just in a different location.”
ACS has found the new setup to be more efficient for managing their administrative offices and maintaining their establishment in communities throughout the Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.
Riddle encourages teenagers to reach out to ACS if they feel the need for counseling, whether they are on a school campus or elsewhere in their community.
“If a student has a need for counseling, and they’re at one of the schools that we service, they should go see the ACS counselor at their school site,” Riddle said. “If, for some reason, that is not going to work out, they can always give us a call, and we can make sure that they are able to see somebody in our community counseling program either at our Palo Alto location, or in our Redwood City location.”