Foothill Family Provides Critical Mental Health Services During Pandemic

Sep 24, 2020

PASADENA, CA – Foothill Family could never have predicted a global pandemic would make the need for a community-based mental health agency more urgent and necessary than ever. Deemed an essential business in supporting the mental wellness of thousands of clients across Los Angeles County, most notably in the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, the agency kept its doors open and quickly shifted its practices.

“We are in the second year of a five-year strategic plan, and the work we did to shape and deploy the plan reinforced our solid footing when the unexpected occurred with the onset of California’s ‘safer from home’ mandate in response to COVID-19,” said Steve Allen, Foothill Family Chief Executive Officer. “Our diligent focus on infrastructure and sustainability, in addition to the foundational focus on programs and people, really allowed the pivot from face-to-face client care to shift one hundred percent to telephone and telehealth services.”

As the world transitioned into a new season sequestered at home from work and school, Foothill Family shifted into a new gear – while the doors to their family centers in Pasadena, Duarte, Covina, and two in El Monte remained open with limited staffing, ninety percent of their employees were set up to establish work stations from home and trained on a number of online tools previously foreign to a high touch industry. Suddenly, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and virtual conferencing joined the lexicon and high touch almost instantaneously morphed into high tech. Through it all, Foothill Family has been not only able to continue serving its clients in creative and innovative ways, the agency was also positioned to accept new clients.

“It became clear very quickly that the needed response to this public health crisis was going to create a burden on people that would result in mental health challenges,” said Tami Mitsumori-Miller, Foothill Family Chief Clinical Officer. “Suddenly people are isolated and alone, or isolated with someone volatile, or isolated without a teacher or aide to observe and report concerning behavior. Add the stress of financial insecurity and unemployment to that and you find a lot of already vulnerable people in even more precarious situations. Accepting new clients was vital at this moment in time.”

Individuals and families were thrust into the unknown at all socio-economic levels. The ability to rely on donor events to fundraise quickly disappeared and is indeterminate for the foreseeable future. Philanthropic giving across the non-profit sphere paused as people watched the stock market plunge. The uncertainty of it all created a vacuum of time and space that began to fill with a mix of anxiety and creativity.

Stepping up to fill the void were a number of public and private foundations who quickly shifted or advanced giving in response to the moment. Foothill Family received leadership support from California Community Foundation; Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation; The Atlas Family Foundation, The Ahmanson Foundation, and Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation.

“We are incredibly fortunate to partner with foundations who are in the position to respond to the needs of communities who are highly impacted by this public health crisis,” said Lara Lund, Foothill Family Director of Foundation Grants. “We are grateful for their recognition of Foothill Family’s role in helping to meet those needs through mental health services and early childhood development programs.”

High-level support for COVID-19 response and agency operations was also received from Pasadena Child Health Foundation; Dorrance Family Foundation; Pasadena Community Foundation; Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation; Anonymous Fund of the Orange County Community Foundation; Tikun Olam Foundation; Wells Fargo Foundation; and Niagara Cares.

About Foothill Family
Founded in 1926, Foothill Family empowers children and families to achieve success in relationships, school, and work through community-based services that advance growth and development. Through its leadership in supporting at-risk populations in Southern California, the agency has earned a reputation for providing high-quality services aimed at achieving brighter futures in which individuals and families thrive, communities are strengthened, and generations are enriched. Programs include mental health and school-based services for children, a focus on early childhood development and parent education, youth and family services ranging from programs for pregnant and parenting teens to prevention and treatment for child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse. For more information, please call (626) 993-3000.