Mental Health and Counseling Resources

School Mental Health Resources
Each of our schools has a school counselor available to all students.
In addition, we have two social workers available to our middle and high school students and their families. 

Crisis Contacts & Phone Numbers

»Suicide Prevention of the Central Coast
Primary Phone: 877-663-5433 
24-hour Multilingual Suicide Crisis Line: 831-458-5300
Other Services: Grief support for survivors of suicide loss, suicide prevention outreach, and education for the community.

»Emergency Services - 911
In the event of an emergency concerning mental health, call 911. Alert the dispatcher there is a mental health issue involved. Law enforcement has a mental health professional who will accompany the officers. 

»Abuse (Domestic & Child) Child Protective Services 

»Santa Cruz County Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services 
800-952-2335 or 831-454-4900 (Access Team) 

Santa Cruz County Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Website
1400 Emeline Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Available 24 hours a day to all Santa Cruz County children to assess for hospitalization in a psychiatric crisis.

Community Mental Health Resources and Information

One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to provide mental health services on parity with physical health. When we have exhausted our internal district resources such as the district social worker, intern and school psychologist, we can assist our students and families in finding services  in the community.

There are a few basic terms to understand:
Behavioral Health encompasses mental health and substance use treatment. There are several levels of care available in Santa Cruz County ranging from private practitioners to safety net services.

Integrated Health refers to local medical clinics who incorporate mental health into their primary care practice. Mental health specialists are employed directly by the clinic and are available to patients of the clinic. The referral to mental health is made by the primary care physician often by having the mental health professional available during the primary care visit so the connection is made in person, in the moment.
Safety Net Services refers to services available to students who do not have insurance. Some of the students are on Medi Cal while others may not have any insurance. The safety net services will assist families with enrollment in Medi Cal.

If you have health insurance you will want to work with your network of providers and your primary care physician to access mental health or substance use services. Check your insurance card for mental health benefits and phone numbers or speak with your primary care physician for a referral. The Affordable Care Act guarantees mental health coverage. However, families may have deductibles or co-pays that make it un-affordable. In this case see our sliding scale providers.

Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF)

With over 100,000 patients PAMF is a major provider of healthcare in our county for those students with insurance. PAMF follows the integrated health model of care. Students whose family are members of PAMF access behavioral health services through their primary care physician. PAMF currently has one child psychiatrist. The model of therapy is brief therapy with clients usually accessing eight visits.

Kaiser Permanente

More than 50 Kaiser Permanente specialty and primary care doctors are serving members in Santa Cruz County. As our membership grows, Kaiser will continue to add doctors.

Santa Cruz Community Health Centers 

SCCHC has two clinics: Eastside Family Health Center and Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center. It follows the integrated health model.Clients of the clinic are referred to mental health by their primary care physician. Currently SCCHC serves approximately 12,000 patients in Santa Cruz County. “Driven by a 40-year commitment to health care as a human right, SCCHC is a leading non-profit provider of high quality, affordable and comprehensive health service in English and Spanish to all ages, gender identities, ethnicities, abilities, and sexual orientation, regardless of their ability to pay.” You can go to the Appointments page for information on payment, insurance, and registration.  Most insurances accepted, including Medi-Cal, MediCare, Healthy Kids, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and Health Net.  Sliding fee for those without insurance.

Salud Para la Gente 
Salud is located in south county and can serve our students who live in Watsonville. Salud currently serves 30,000 patients. Salud provides a brief screening for mental health needs. Salud works with Encompass Community Services (Youth Services) to connect patients who need more in depth mental health services. Salud also offers parent education.

Santa Cruz County Children’s Mental HealthEmeline St.  800-952-2335 or 831-454-4900.
Children’s Mental Health serves all children from ages 0-19 who have Medi Cal. CMH has 38 therapists and three psychiatrists. They also contract with the Parents Center, Encompass-Youth Services, Family Services Agency and they have a walk in clinic. 

Open to All

Encompass/Youth Services   
831-429-8350 x 0
Youth Services serves students with or without insurance and they also offer a sliding scale. Currently Youth Services has therapists and interns providing therapy to youth and families as well as substance use intervention.

“Youth Services offers a broad spectrum of services that help heal and nurture the mental and social well-being of children, youth and families. In collaboration with other non-profits, courts, schools, funders and families, we support the vitality of our community and its future.

Our professional staff is skilled in addressing difficulties related to emotional turmoil, struggles at school and at home, substance abuse, and juvenile justice involvement. We are committed to ensuring that youth and families are supported in building the relationships they need to be self-reliant and successful. All services are provided in English and Spanish except as noted.

What is the Cost? Fees are on a sliding scale based on income. Medi-Cal insurance accepted in many of our programs.”

Family Services Agency of the Central Coast
Santa Cruz: 831-423-9444 x220
Soquel: 831-346-6767 
Our newest partner, FSA has offices in downtown Santa Cruz and in Soquel. We are working with them to establish groups and other supports for our students and families. You can access the referral form in the counseling office at any of our schools or you can contact them directly. “While we strive to keep our services affordable and low cost, you will be asked to pay a portion of the fees. Your share of the fee will be based on a sliding scale related to your monthly income. We also accept MediCal.”

Parents Center  
530 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Professional counseling in a confidential atmosphere for parents and children. Parenting skill classes according to a court approved curriculum. Education and counseling for prevention of child abuse and to strengthen families. ELIGIBILITY: Families with children under 18. Appointments required. Call for further information. Waiting list process before getting in for services. FEES: Sliding Scale, MediCal funds accepted.

The Diversity Center
Each year, The Diversity Center reaches approximately 10,000 individuals that we serve directly through our onsite programs, outreach and education events, our work with school-based Gay/Straight Alliances, and our Triangle Speakers program. We fulfill our mission to build an equitable community where LGBTQ+ people thrive by: Creating connections, building community, and reducing isolation among LGBTQ+ seniors, veterans, youth, and the Latinx community and by Teaching acceptance and providing support for transgender individuals

The Diversity Center offers support groups for teens and their families, education, research and can refer families and students to mental health providers.

USC Telehealth 
12 weeks of free counseling sessions for individuals, couples, and families that care for a child or adult with special needs such as a physical or developmental disability.  Services are provided via computer with webcam and high speed internet.

Beacon Health Options
855-765-9700 Toll-free Access Line (24 hours a day/365 days a year)
Beacon administers the mental health benefits for members of the Central Coast Alliance for Health (Alliance). Students with Medi Cal are members of the Alliance. Beacon can connect students to services if they fall under the mild to moderate category of mental health needs. “The Alliance covers outpatient behavioral health services for Medi-Cal members with mild to moderate impairments. Beacon Health Options (Beacon) administers the behavioral health benefit. Mild to moderate behavioral health benefits include:

  • Individual and group mental health evaluation and treatment (psychotherapy)
  • Psychological testing (prior authorization required)
  • Medication support services for the purpose of monitoring drug therapy and psychiatric consultation, as needed
  • Outpatient laboratory, drugs, supplies, and supplements.

Walnut Avenue Family and Women’s Center
Information: 831-426-3062 
24 Hour Hotline: 1-866-2MY-ALLY (1-866-269-2559) 
Services for women and families experiencing domestic violence. Clothing, food, counseling and resources are available. Teen empowerment groups are also offered.

National Alliance on  Mental Illness (NAMI)
Office: 831-824-0406  
Help Line 831-427-8020 

NAMI is an organization dedicated to supporting people who have mental illness and  to family and friends of someone with mental illness. They are an advocacy group and work to end the stigma of mental illness. They offer support groups and classes to families of youth with mental illness as well as those who have a mental illness including peer support.

“NAMI Santa Cruz County offers practical experience, support, education, comfort and understanding to anyone concerned about mental illnesses and their treatment. In addition, we work with public and private organizations to increase knowledge of effective ways of treating the illnesses while advocating for improved services for individuals with mental illness.”


Positive Discipline Community Resources 
831-476-7284 x107

Live Oak Family Resource Center
1740 17th Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Instructional classes, support groups, one-on-one coaching, and training resources

Triple P/ Positive Parenting Program
First 5 Santa Cruz County
4450 Capitola Rd., Suite 106, Capitola, CA 95010
Seminars, workshops, individual and group sessions.

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