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Behavioral Health Menu

Self-Help and Vocational/Employment Resources

Self-Help Resources

County Mental Health is committed to centers for clients and family members to provide peer support, activities, groups and education for one another. There are a number of organizations developed to provide individuals and families information and referral services.

  • The Mental Health Client Action Network (MHCAN) is a client run program offering a range of supports and social amenities including coffee, phone access, and a place to socialize or get information about community and mental health resources. MHCAN also offers art, writing, guitar classes, peer support groups. A computer lab offers Internet access and homework assistance. MHCAN is located at 1051 Cayuga/Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz. For more information and current monthly schedules, call (831) 469-0462.
  • Community Connection-Mariposa Wellness Program outpatient services to mental health consumers who live independently, without intensive case management.  The program represents a “step-down” from coordinated care.  The Mariposa Wellness Program offers classes, groups and activities designed to promote recovery, healthy lifestyles and vocational choices, including employment and education.  Many classes/services are consumer-led and tailored for bilingual, bicultural participants and family members. For more information and enrollment, contact: Jodie Wells (831) 768-8132 ext. 309.   

Vocational/Employment Resources

  • Community Connection hires individuals with psychiatric disabilities and offers quality service and competitive prices to the community. By working at Community Mailing Services (CMS), individuals have the opportunity to gain work experience, earn a paycheck, and learn all facets of the bulk mail business. Some workers move up to supervisor positions within the mailing service, while some use the work experience as preparation for competitive employment in the community.
    • For more information call (831) 425-8132.
  • Career Services is a program of Community Connection, which assists individuals in choosing, preparing for, obtaining, and maintaining employment. Participants set their individual career goals and take advantage of the various support services available. There are classes to assist individuals in determining career goals and in identifying and removing barriers to employment. Job-search assistance is available, including help with resumes, applications, and employer contacts. Individuals may also receive assistance in maintaining their employment including job coaching, weekly job-support group and individual support from Career Services staff as needed. This component has offices at 300 Harvey West Blvd., in Santa Cruz and at 10 Carr Street in Watsonville.
    • For more information call (831) 425-8132 or (831) 768-8132.
  • Avenues provides employment focused support and assistance to individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders. Avenues is a Mental Health Service Act (MHSA) funded innovative program that focuses “work first” as the primary tool for recovery. Employment related activities, training and education support are used as the primary tool for recovery.  Avenues receives referrals through Santa Cruz County Mental Health (Access and System of Care), mental health probation, jail, court, proposition 36, hospitals, shelters and prevention and early intervention (PEI) staff. Program activities are tailored and flexible to meet the needs of the individuals. Services will average 2 months with flexibility on a case-by-case basis. Daily activities will include job preparedness classes and workshops, hands on training, group and individual volunteer opportunities, individual job search, dual disorder education and 12-step program guidance, education and access.  Program operates Monday-Friday from 9:00 am-3:00 pm. County Mental Health provide medication support and assessments on site at both locations as needed.  Community Connection will hire and train Peer Community Navigators.  Community Navigators will be peers in their own mental health and substance abuse recovery who are hired to provide mentorship, guidance and assistance with volunteering, job search, 12-step recovery meeting attendance and education and other community integration activities that promote wellness and recovery.
    • For more information and enrollment contact: Program Coordinator: Janelle Carolotta (831) 768-8132 ext. 306.
  • Opportunity Connection is a recovery-oriented program focusing on employment readiness and skill building.  Classes, groups and activities are available for adults with psychiatric disabilities who are part of the Santa Cruz County Mental Health System of Care. Through group activities and individual counseling we provide strength-based support for participants in achieving desired vocational, educational and employment goals and enriching their lives through community integration.  The program provides opportunities for participants to “try out” various volunteer and paid employment positions in-house and in the community that prepare them and for competitive employment. The Opportunity Connection program is open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday. 
    • For more information and enrollment, contact Program Coordinator: Stephanie Hassani, (831) 425-8132 ext. 210.
  • The Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) program at Community Connection offers employment and education support for transition aged youth and adults who are experiencing new and significant symptoms of mental illness (including post-traumatic stress disorder) and who are not already receiving county services. Our goal in PEI is to support our participants in recovering their independence and self-responsibility through community integration. We provide brief services aimed at assisting people in reaching their employment and academic goals. We believe that early and effective intervention may help to delay the onset and development of mental illness as well as decrease its severity and associated disability.Z

    The Prevention and Early Intervention program is funded by the Mental Health Services Act, and all PEI services are free of charge to qualified participants. The PEI team is a partnership between Santa Cruz County Mental Health, Senior Network Services, and Community Connection. A member of the PEI team can meet for a consultation with the individual and/or family at school, home, or any other location.

    If the goal is employment, we provide services including resume writing, interviewing skills and techniques, web and community based job search, skill building, and resume building volunteer opportunities. If the goal is education we offer support with applications and registration, academic counseling and planning, receiving accommodations, and academic referrals for tutoring and other services. In addition, a representative from Prevention and Early Intervention will be happy to present information about the PEI program to any interested community organization or agency.

    In order to qualify for Community Connection’s PEI services, the person must be experiencing new and significant symptoms of mental illness (not known to be caused by a medical condition, injury, or substance use) and experiencing worsening difficulties in school and/or difficulty in finding or maintaining employment. Qualified participants must live in Santa Cruz County and be over 18 years of age. Appointment times are available Monday through Friday from 8:30-4:00. 
    • For more information and enrollment contact: Program Coordinator: Andrea Turnbull, MSW (831) 425-8132 ext. 222