Employee of the Month - March, 2017

Jessica C. was nominated by fellow employees and chosen as the March Employee of Month at Aurora Charter Oak Hospital. A full-time employee, Jessica juggles working as a therapist and as a case manager, depending upon the daily needs of her department. She received a cash award and use of the "Employee of the Month" parking space, along with a Run4Recovery t-shirt and an engraved award trophy. Employee of the Month March 2017 Aurora Charter Oak Hospital

John LaGue, Jessica's supervisor, presented the award and noted that "This is an individual who was very easy to choose as employee of the month. We are always looking for those individuals that go above and beyond, love their work and the patients they serve. Jessica definitely fits that bill. She is extremely versatile in her abilities and her focus, never complaining about something not being her job. Whatever needs to be done, either brought to her attention by management or just a fellow employee in need of help, Jessica steps up and makes sure the job gets done in the best way possible." Congratulations Jessica!

Pictured left (L to R): Todd S. (CEO), Sheila C. (COO), Jessica C. (Therapist), John L. (Dir. Social Services)



Obama Signs 21st Century Cures Act

Medi-Cal Restrictions for Psychiatric Hospitals Remain

December 13, 2016



Facing Addiction in America, Together

November 17, 2016

In response to one of America’s most pressing public health concerns, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released a report today about the U.S. addiction crisis. Nearly 21 million Americans have a substance use disorder, yet 90 percent are not getting treatment. Substance misuse is an underappreciated but critical public health challenge.Surgeon General's Report Addiction in America

The report:

  • Provides an in-depth look at the science of substance use disorders and addiction. Addiction is a chronic brain disease.
  • Calls for a cultural shift in how Americans talk about the issue. Families are fighting an illness as well as stigma.
  • Recommends actions we can take to prevent and treat substance use disorders, and promote recovery. Prevention is key: Keeping teens and young adults in particular from trying drugs and alcohol vastly lowers the likelihood of addiction later. Recommendations also include promoting screenings to enable early intervention as well as expanding access to treatment.

Another key finding is that substance use disorder treatment in the United States remains largely separate from the rest of the health care system and serves only a fraction of those in need.

The full report can be downloaded here, along with an executive summary, vision for the future, key findings, and supplementary materials.

Aurora Charter Oak Hospital offers several treatment programs for individuals with substance misuse and addiction problems, ranging from inpatient medical detoxification to residential treatment to outpatient programs.   


September 27, 2016

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson Thanks Governor for Signing Student Suicide Prevention Bill

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today thanked Governor Jerry Brown for signing legislation requiring schools that serve students from grades 7 to 12 to adopt suicide prevention policies.

Torlakson supported AB 2246 by Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach and Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. The bill, signed on Monday, September 26, requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to develop and maintain a model suicide prevention policy.

“With this change, we can better identify students in need, get them help, and keep them safe,” Torlakson said. “One of my top priorities is serving the needs of the whole child, including their mental health needs. This bill is a big step forward in our ongoing efforts to help our students.”

“As classroom teacher, I know from experience that educators often serve as the first line of defense when a student is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts,” said Assembly Member O’Donnell. “AB 2246 will provide parents, teachers, and schools with the tools they need to help save the lives of at-risk youth.”

Torlakson is a longtime supporter of expanding mental health services and preventing suicides. When Torlakson served in the California State Senate in 2004, he was state co-chair of the campaign for Proposition 63, a measure that increased income taxes on the wealthy to fund mental health programs.

As State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Torlakson convened a Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup. The group of 40 experts has conducted 20 free trainings in suicide prevention across the state for more than 500 teachers.

Earlier this year, CDE released the Healthy Kids Survey, which describes how students feel about school and how they rank their school environment.

The survey showed schools need to focus more attention on better meeting the needs of youth. For example, two indicators of depression risk showed little change since the last survey two years ago.

Nearly one-fourth of seventh graders and around one-third of ninth and eleventh graders reported feelings of chronic sadness or hopelessness. And, almost 20 percent of high school students had seriously contemplated suicide.

Torlakson in 2014 released a letter encouraging school districts to adopt suicide prevention policies. Under the new law, each district will be required to adopt suicide policies beginning with the 2017-18 school year.


In 2014, there were nearly 2,300 suicide attempts by students 15 to 19 years old in California.

# # # #

Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Jason Foundation


Aurora Charter Oak and The Jason Foundation Provide Suicide Prevention Education to Local Community

Suicide is a national health problem that is also one of the leading causes of preventable death in our nation. 

In California:

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for middle and high school age youth (12 – 18).
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for college age youth (18 – 22).

The California Youth Risk Behavioral Survey reported:

  • Over 1 out of 7 young people seriously considered suicide in the past twelve months
  • Almost 1 out of 11 young people attempted suicide in the past twelve months

The Jason Foundation and Aurora Charter Oak Hospital are partners in raising awareness and providing education in our local community about youth suicide. 

The Jason Foundation, Inc. (JFI) is a national leader in youth suicide awareness and prevention programs targeted to address the “Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide.  Aurora Charter Oak Hospital is the affiliate office for JFI in Covina, CA. Affiliate offices serve as a hub where parents, teachers, guidance counselors, students, churches and other community organizations can obtain educational materials and learn about training programs available through JFI.  All programs, services, and materials are available to the public at no cost. 

Todd Smith, CEO of Aurora Charter Oak Hospital, said, “We are proud to be affiliated with The Jason Foundation.  Aurora Charter Oak Hospital recognizes how serious the problem of suicide is among adolescents and young adults. Every day, we work with individuals who are at-risk for suicide.  The Jason Foundation has developed excellent awareness and education materials and we are very pleased to have these additional resources for our community.”

Clark Flatt, President of JFI said, “Awareness and education are the foundation for prevention. We are very proud of our work with Aurora Charter Oak Hospital in helping to provide communities across California with programs and resources to help build this foundation for prevention.”

About JFI

JFI is a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting “The Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide through educational programs and resources for young people, educators, parents, and other community groups.  JFI, headquartered in Hendersonville, TN, was founded in 1997 after the tragic death of Jason Flatt, the 16-year-old son of Clark Flatt. For more information, please visit JFI’s website, www.jasonfoundation.com   

The Jason Foundation representative at Aurora Charter Oak Hospital is Steve Jennings, who may be reached at 626-214-2029 or steve.jennings@aurorabehavioral.com       

Laura's Law Implemented in Los Angeles County

Laura's Law, which allows court-ordered outpatient mental health treatment for people with serious mental illness and a history of refusing treatment, has been implemented in Los Angeles County.  L.A. County, with 10 million residents, is the fifth California county to have adopted Laura's Law.  State lawmakers originally passed the law in 2002, but gave each county the option of enacting it locally.  Under the law, medical professionals, law enforcement officers or family members may request that the county mental health department petition a court to force a mentally ill individual into outpatient treatment.  However, only the County mental health director, or designee, may file a court petition for a hearing to determine if the person should be court ordered to receive AOT (Assisted Outpatient Treatment).

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved spending $1.6 million in funding from the state to set up the program, including salaries for 18 mental health workers.  The mental health workers are part of teams to evaluate individuals referred by family members, treatment providers, family members, or others.  The focus is on getting individuals with mental illnesses into voluntary outpatient treatment programs.  However, if the individual refuses, court hearings are a next step. 

 An individual may be placed in AOT if the court finds that the individual is:

  • Suffering from a mental illness
  • Unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision
  • Non-compliant with treatment that has either:
    • Been a significant factor in his or her being in a hospital, prison or jail at least twice within the last thirty-six months; or
    • Resulted in one or more acts, attempts or threats of serious violent behavior toward self or others within the last forty-eight months
  • Failing to engage in voluntary treatment offered by the local mental health department
  • Substantially deteriorating
  • In need of treatment in order to prevent a relapse or deterioration that would likely result in the person meeting California's inpatient commitment standard: 
  • A serious risk of harm to himself or herself or others; or
  • Gravely disabled (in immediate physical danger due to being unable to meet basic needs for food, clothing, or shelter);
  • Likely to benefit from AOT; and
  • Participation in AOT is the least restrictive placement necessary to ensure the person's recovery and stability.

If you have a question about Laura's Law, or wish to make a referral within L.A. County, you may call 213-738-2440 or e-mail AOTLAOE@lacounty.gov


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