Chris Tanti...A bit about me.
My name is Chris Tanti and I am the new CEO of SafeSpace. SafeSpace is attempting to bridge the gap between the needs of young people aged 12 – 26 and the available services by offering individual, group and family therapy.
By way of background, I have recently moved from Melbourne, Australia and am now living amongst you in this fantastic community. I have spent the bulk of my professional life working in the area of mental health, first as a clinician and then in senior executive roles across the for profit as well as the non-profit and government sectors.
I spent the last 10 years working with a fantastic group of people to build a world-class, national youth mental health service called Headspace in Australia. As the inaugural CEO, I saw the organization grow from zero to 100 centers nationally, provide online counseling services and create a school suicide intervention program, servicing in excess of 90,000 young adults per annum. We successfully reached many youth at risk of harm by working with young adults themselves to build a service that met their unique needs and requirements. Importantly in the process, we were able to strengthen and build capacity in communities. I am excited and hopeful that SafeSpace will be able to do the same and more here in the US.
Our Team Is Growing
Many of you already know Susan Bird, Stacy Drazan and Liesl Moldow. None of this would be possible without their ongoing efforts. We continue to build our Board, define roles, and define governance. Recently the Board has been joined by Dina Jackson. She brings with her a passion for helping families find the support they need during times of mental health challenges. She will be leveraging her considerable experience in digital marketing and technology to build the necessary infrastructure to take us forward.
We also welcome Lindsay McHugh, who recently joined our team, providing the necessary front of the house and administrative support. She will be the first contact for patients and families entering the Menlo Park center.
Our Youth Advisory Board Has Been Formed
After interviewing dozens of applicants, we selected our Youth Advisory Board members. The function of the Youth Advisory Board is to collaborate with us in building our organization and centers in a way that ensures young adults find them relevant and meaningful. It is my experience that these fantastic and generous young adults will help us create an environment and a culture that young adults feel comfortable walking into for support and most importantly, so they feel better when they leave. A huge debt of gratitude goes to Dr. Leslie Martin who has helped us develop a state of the art participation strategy and who spends countless hours preparing for our meetings to ensure that we get the most out of our advisory board and that they get the most out of us. Each member of the Advisory Board acts as a liaison within his/her local school enabling SafeSpace to develop close and deep relationships with teachers, students and the broader school community. My experience tells me that being well networked in schools removes one of the fundamental barriers to seeking help. People need to know you exist in order to get the help they need.
Open for Business in Menlo Park
The SafeSpace Menlo Park Center at 1162 and 1166 El Camino Real, Menlo Park commenced seeing young adults and their families in late March, nearly four months ahead of schedule. SafeSpace Menlo Park provides both Outpatient and Intensive Outpatient Services. Within two minutes of turning on our phone lines, we had our first patient. We continue to receive referrals directly from families and others in the community. We have two Psychiatrists, Dr. Dan Yang and Dr. Hari Nair currently working in the center and as demand increases, we have additional staff, who will be engaged to ensure we get people the support they need as soon as they need it.
Whilst the idea started with only a few people in this community, it has now engaged members of the community from all walks of life, all of them dedicated to making a difference in the lives of young people. I would particularly like to acknowledge Liesl Moldow. Liesl is spearheading our business and corporate development, furniture building (though I did have to tighten some of the screws she left hanging) and has assisted us with our school communities. Liesl even negotiated a generous donation that facilitated furnishing the whole of 1162, in addition to negotiating with Foundation Capital, who subsequently provided us with the necessary office space to incubate and execute our vision.
I would also like to acknowledge Brad Robertson, who helped SafeSpace through the delicate task of filing our first tax statement.
This is a true grass roots community collaboration and many people have helped us get to this point Susan Bird in particular, who recently accepted the challenge of chairing the SafeSpace Board and for who SafeSpace has become a full-time job.
We will be having launch celebration for the SafeSpace Menlo Park center in August and I will be in touch once we firm up a date. We continue to raise funds from both corporate and individual donors. Thank you for your continued support financially and in helping us create awareness. Feel free to call me at the Menlo Park Center 650.304.3906 if you want to visit or have friends in need of help.