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Youth mental health clinic opens in Menlo Park

Nonprofit also forms youth advisory board made up of local students

More than four months ahead of schedule, SafeSpace, a youth mental health center, has opened in Menlo Park.

SafeSpace has offices at 1166 El Camino Real in Menlo Park, above Feldman's Books, and will soon open a meeting/classroom space next door in the offices that formerly housed Gentry Magazine.

SafeSpace is planned as a self-sustaining nonprofit modeled on the Australian clinics called "headspace." Since starting in 2006 with 30 clinics, headspace now has more than 100 Australian clinics.

In October, Stacy Drazan of Woodside, Susan Bird of Menlo Park and Liesl Moldow of Atherton told the Almanac they wanted to open SafeSpace by the end of August. They plan the Menlo Park clinic to be the first of many in the U.S.

SafeSpace will serve young people from ages 12 to 26, and involve youth in everything from designing the clinic interiors to publicizing it and referring friends who may need help.

The clinic has formed a youth advisory board with students from Menlo-Atherton, Woodside, Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep high schools, and is forming student groups at local schools. Online counseling and advice will also be available.

SafeSpace CEO Chris Tanti was for 10 years, until his resignation in June, the CEO of Australia's headspace. The group has also partnered with the Bay Area Children's Association, which has allowed SafeSpace to take medical insurance. BACA's head, Tom Tarshis will be SafeSpace's clinical director. The BACA clinics plan to eventually become SafeSpace clinics.

Bird said the clinic started receiving phone calls two minutes after plugging in its phone.

Learn more about the clinic at

SafeSpace.org, or call (650) 304-3906 for an appointment.

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