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Sorrel Leaf Healing Center

Sorrel Leaf Healing Center to Offer Child and Adolescent Crisis Stabilization, Crisis Residential, Mobile Response and Aftercare to the North Coast

EUREKA, California, May 12, 2022 - Sorrel Leaf Healing Center and Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Behavioral Health Branch are creating a crisis mental healthcare facility to serve North Coast children and adolescents. Sorrel Leaf is a Nonprofit organization newly formed to provide transformative, compassionate, evidence based and trauma-informed care for young people ages seven through eighteen experiencing a mental health crisis. The new facility in Eureka will offer three crisis stabilization rooms and nine residential care rooms and a continuity aftercare clinic starting in early 2023, as well as a mobile crisis response team for young people starting this summer.

Humboldt County has one of the highest youth suicide rates in California and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) scores nearly double the state’s average. The North Coast’s young people have been suffering from significant mental health challenges for years without a facility within hundreds of miles providing the care they need. Children and adolescents in mental health crisis often spend days or weeks in Humboldt’s emergency rooms waiting for scarce beds at distant mental health facilities. The trauma and isolation experienced by young people during Covid has only worsened this mental health emergency.

In April 2021, Sorrel Leaf Healing Center and DHHS were awarded a $5.1 million dollar grant from the California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA) to provide desperately needed crisis care here in Humboldt County. The grant, with generous support from Providence Humboldt County, the North Coast Grantmaking Partnership, the McLean Foundation, the Kurt Feuerman Foundation, Redwood Region Economic Development, and other concerned community members, has allowed Sorrel Leaf Healing Center to create a healing space and a cutting edge program of excellence.

Sorrel Leaf Healing Center began when Fortuna pediatrician Evan Buxbaum became frustrated with the lack of effective and timely care available to the increasing number of young patients presenting in mental health emergencies. Looking for a way to bring these vital services to the North Coast, he applied to CHFFA’s Children and Youth Grant Program. In the year since winning that grant, Dr. Buxbaum and his family have been joined by an enthusiastic team of helpers including county staff, pediatric and psychiatric nurse practitioners, therapists, educators, concerned community members and young people with lived experience in the current system.

“The North Coast has desperately needed this service,” Dr. Buxbaum said. “When Humboldt’s young people experience a mental health crisis, there are too few places to send them. Sorrel Leaf Healing Center offers a better approach to psychiatric care and we provide it within our own community.”

DHHS Deputy Director Jeremy Nilsen agreed that such a facility will greatly benefit the county’s youth. “This facility will offer intensive services to youth and their families locally and can be an alternative to out-of-county hospitalization,” he said. Youth being served at Sorrel Leaf Healing Center will get intensive help to stabilize them during a time of crisis. Simply put, this is a great opportunity for our county and our county’s youth.”

Sorrel Leaf Healing Center will be staffed by psychiatric nurse practitioners, pediatric and adolescent-trained therapists, nurses, social workers and case managers as well as a staff of farmers, chefs and helpers. Psychiatric oversight will be provided through the University of California, San Francisco’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

“Sorrel Leaf Healing Center emphasizes intensive therapy, somatic modalities, mindfulness, healthy coping mechanisms and the involvement of family and community into the healing process,” Dr. Buxbaum added.

DHHS Behavioral Health Director Emi Botzler-Rodgers agrees that youth crisis care is a much needed service. “A children’s crisis residential treatment program is an incredible opportunity for our community to support our youth. It will allow us to keep them local and connected to family and community support. It is also wonderful to be able to partner with Sorrel Leaf Healing Center. It allows us to bring together expertise and resources in a way that maximizes the potential for a really amazing and successful program.”

The center’s residential home sits on a thirteen-acre farm off of Indianola Road in Eureka and features open fields, forests and a scenic pond. This unique property creates space for engagement in nature, the cultivation of food for the center and animal therapy with the farm’s sheep, rabbits, alpacas and other animals.

To donate, volunteer or get involved, please visit Sorrel Leaf Healing Center’s website for more information.


Future site of Sorrel Leaf Healing Center, a crisis mental health facility for young people located in Eureka, California.

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