Unprecedented Collaborative Effort on Campuses Aims to Increase Wellness for High School Students
LOS ANGELES, CA — Today, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA), along with officials from the County of Los Angeles, including the Board of Supervisors, the Departments of Public Health (DPH) and Mental Health (DMH), the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), announced a landmark program that will open fifty Wellbeing Centers in Los Angeles high schools to provide health care services, education, parent resources and support, and more to students on campus. This is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between local partners to address the social, emotional, and sexual health needs of young people throughout Los Angeles County.
The on-campus Wellbeing Centers aim to create a safe space in each school where students can receive the education and health services they need to lead healthy lives. Now open in five high schools, the Centers will eventually open on fifty high school campuses across L.A. County, and will offer services including health and wellness education services, sexual health services, peer leadership opportunities, parent education and support, and more.
Alexis McGill Johnson, Interim President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“All young people deserve to have the education, resources, and skills they need to make informed decisions about their health, their relationships, and their futures. This groundbreaking program means that students don’t have to worry about missing school just to access the quality health care, education, and resources they need. Too many young people don’t have access to the health care or information they need to live their healthiest lives — and these Well being Centers are helping to change that.
“This program is an example of how communities can work together to listen to the needs of young people and get them the resources they need to protect their health and plan their futures. This is who Planned Parenthood is: innovative, expert, and fully committed to breaking down barriers and reaching people wherever they are with education and care — no matter what.”
Sue Dunlap, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles:
“PPLA is proud and honored to partner with county and district education and health officials to improve the lives of our students — putting our next generation first, ahead of today’s politics. Mental and behavioral health issues, substance use, and lack of knowledge around sexual health can create barriers to academic success. Finding support to grapple with these issues generally requires students to go off campus and means time away from class, money for transportation, and explaining your whereabouts to others, all hurdles that loom large for teens.”
Clinicians from PPLA will provide a range of sexual health services one day a week, including testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), emergency contraception and birth control counseling and provision, well-person exams, pregnancy testing, and pregnancy options counseling.
Each Center is also staffed by two DPH Master’s level Youth Educators, who will facilitate classes, support groups, and activities aimed at equipping teens with information about substance use prevention, behavioral health, and sexual health, as well as the skills they need to have healthy relationships, protect their health, and plan for the future. Through in-Center and in-classroom activities, the Youth Educators deliver an age-appropriate, evidence-informed curriculum that complies with California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA) requirements with added emphasis on behavioral health, substance use, and social and emotional well-being.
Research suggests that many young people enrolled in L.A. County schools may lack preventive care at an age when risk is highest for unprotected sex and other risky behaviors including the use of alcohol and other substances including smoking/vaping. The Centers are youth-friendly and provide students with safe, welcoming places where they will find caring adults, supportive peers, and youth-sensitive services on campus.
In addition to health services, PPLA will also provide:
Parent Education and Support: PPLA’s parent educators and promotoras will provide skill building sessions on campus in both English and Spanish for parents and family members around behavioral health, substance abuse prevention, and sexual health and relationships.
A Dedicated Phone Line: PPLA will provide after-hours information, referrals, and assistance with making appointments at the Wellbeing Center for students on the campuses.
The program will expand to 50 schools in L.A. County on a rolling basis.
The mission of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles is to provide convenient and affordable access to a comprehensive range of quality reproductive health care and sexual health information, through patient services, education and advocacy. As one of the largest providers of reproductive health care services in Los Angeles County, PPLA saw more than 250,000 patient visits last year. For more information, visit www.pp-la.org.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.