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Behavioral Health Menu

Frequently Asked Questions

Mental Health Services

Substance Abuse Services


I need help (either for self or someone else). Who can help me? How can I obtain mental health services from the county?

Call 1-800-952-2335 and the Access Team will evaluate all requests for services. If there is a crisis call Santa Cruz County Psychiatric Health Facility at (831) 600-2801.

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Is the staff, including the doctors and clinicians, bilingual/Spanish speaking?

Yes. There are Spanish speaking doctors and staff available.

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My child has been referred to mental health services by the school they are attending, will I have to pay for these services or does the school cover these costs?

Unless your child has an IEP and is qualified for 3632 services, you would be responsible for the payment for mental health services. If it is an on-site counselor that is part of the school program, i.e. Kidscorner, etc. than there is usually no charge. You would have to check out the particulars with the individual school. Click here for more information about School Treatment Programs.

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Who can obtain mental health services?

Anyone who is in crisis, or has a serious mental illness and who has limited or no insurance for mental health needs. 

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When I phone the clinic, what will they ask me?

The licensed trained counselor who responds to your call will ask you questions to determine if you are in crisis, your current symptoms and functioning and any history of mental health treatment you may have. Also, you will be asked about any medications you are using and your drug and alcohol, history (if any). Together, the answers to these questions help us to decide if you meet our criteria of medical necessity how quickly we must respond to the request for service. We must prioritized requests in order to utilize our limited resources in the most efficient manner.

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How soon can I get an appointment to obtain services?

If it is determined to be urgent, you may be referred to the Crisis Stabilization Program. If it is not urgent you will be offered an appointment within ten working days. If you have insurance, you will be referred back to your private provider.

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How can I get help for my troubled family member, friend, etc. whom I believe needs help?

This is not unusual. Many people are afraid of the stigma of being seen as or told they are mentally ill. You are encouraged to call the clinic and speak to a trained counselor who can advise you about your options, and the best approach to this problem. Click here for information on how to contact the Access Team for services and information.

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Are your services confidential?

Absolutely. We cannot release information about any contacts you have had with us without your written consent.

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Can I get marriage and family counseling?

County clinics serve persons with severe mental illnesses. Please call for a referral to a community resource that will meet your needs. However family counseling as it relates to the needs of children served by Children's Mental Health is provided. Click here for information on how to contact the Access Team for services and information.

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Does County Mental Health provide court required family therapy?

Only if the individual has an acute or persistent mental illness. Children, youth and their family ordered by the Juvenile Court qualify for System of Care Services.

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Does County Mental Health provide services to state parolees?

State parolees will be referred to their parole officers who will coordinate their mental health services.

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Does County Mental Health provide services to probationers?

Yes, only if the individual has an acute or persistent mental illness.

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Does County Mental Health provide drug and alcohol services?

No, we make referrals to various programs depending on your place of residence. Click here to learn about the Substance Abuse program.

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Do you make house calls?

In general, appointments are scheduled to take place within the clinic. However, our Senior Team sees all at risk Seniors in the community. Also, our Homeless Team will meet homeless persons wherever they are. Children's Mental Health will also provide services in the community (home, school, etc.)

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There is a street person bothering my patrons (in my front yard, wandering in traffic, etc.). Can you come and get him or her?

If your safety is threatened, call 911 otherwise call law enforcement.

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Where do I get help for a substance abuse problem?

Refer to the Substance Abuse Services for detailed information about the Alcohol and Drug Programs or refer to the Resource Referral Directory.

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How do I talk to my children about alcohol and drugs?

See Links to these web sites.

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What are the signs and symptoms of use and abuse of various types of drugs?

See Links to these web sites.

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Who do I talk to if I have a complaint about an Alcohol and Drug program?

Contact ADP complaint desk at the State and (831) 454-4050

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Who do I talk to if I have questions about a court-ordered alcohol and drug program (Drinking Drive Program or drug Deferred Judgment Program)?

See these links to answer questions regarding these programs.

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How do I file a grievance?

To file a grievance fill out either one of these forms:  English  Spanish

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Para español por favor seleccione “Google Translate” localizado arriba de la pagina al lado derecho y selecione español


Client Service

How to Receive
Mental Health Services

Como obtener servicios de Salud Mental

How to Receive
Substance Use Disorder (SUDS) Services

(800) 952-2335
24-Hour Access Line

(831) 454-4170

1400 Emeline Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA
(831) 763-8200
Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm
1430 Freedom Blvd.
Suite B
Watsonville, CA

For hearing impaired clients: Dial 711
or send us an email

What to Do in Case of a Mental Health Emergency

Behavioral Health Crisis Services

Suicide Prevention Service

Resources for Traumatic Events or Disasters

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)