As summer ends and school starts up, students seeking a safe place to find friendship, support and mental health help can visit one of Riverside County’s three Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Centers.

TAY Centers offer resources to youth ages 16 to 25, including those with disabilities, foster youth, LGBTQ+ youth, those without homes and those transitioning out of juvenile detention facilities. The services are free and open to everyone, regardless of their insurance.

The State of California recently announced a $4.7 billion investment in mental health services for Californians ages 25 and under due to increasing rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts in this population.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there was a 40% increase in high school students reporting persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness between 2009 and 2019. In 2021, that number rose to 44%, and 37% of high school students said they experienced poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TAY Centers are just one of Riverside County’s resources for young Californians seeking mental health care. Janine Moore, deputy director of Children’s and Transitional Age Youth programs for the County of Riverside Department of Behavioral Health, said the centers saw an 18 percent increase in young adults attending therapy and peer support groups from fiscal year 2018/2019 to fiscal year 2020/2021. But it wasn’t just young people looking for assistance – at least 262 of their family members joined their loved ones in family therapy.

TAY Centers were established using funds from California’s Mental Health Services Act (also known as the Millionaires’ Tax). The centers are currently funded using Medi-Cal and various state funds. There are approximately 360,000 young people aged 16 to 25 in Riverside County, all of whom are eligible to use Riverside County TAY Centers.

Each Transitional Age Youth Center provides individual and group therapy with licensed practitioners. Youth can drop in for support without an appointment for youth-focused activities such as art, music, recreation and coping skills groups. Each center also offers resources and support to family members of the youth.

There are three TAY Centers in Riverside County, open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with additional services after hours as scheduled.


Photo and video and audio from Riverside University Health System, and Riverside County Public Health Department