NAMI Santa Clara County cannot recommend specific psychiatrists, therapists and other clinicians. However, we can give you information and suggestions on how to search for behavioral health professionals, programs and on-line and in-person peer support groups that deal with a variety of mental health concerns and issues.
Note: If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, family crisis, or are having suicidal thoughts:
- In a PSYCHIATRIC EMERGENCY, where a person is a danger to themselves and others, Call 911 and ask for a “CIT trained” officer.
- If you have a CHILD in crisis, call the EMQ Child/Adolescent Mobile Crisis Program (includes after hours/weekend emergencies): 408-379-9085 or 1-877-412-7474
- If you are a TEENAGER in crisis, you can call Bill Wilson Center CRISIS LINE: 408-850-6140, or the Teen Hotline: 650-579-0353
- If you are feeling SUICIDAL, talking to someone may help. Suicide and Crisis hotlines have trained counselors available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Don’t wait – call now!
- In Santa Clara County: Call Suicide and Crisis Center: 1-855-278-4204 (Toll Free Hotline)
- Nationally: Call National Suicide Prevention Line Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK or 800-SUICIDE
Insurance and Accessing Therapy
In accessing health care, it’s important to identify what health insurance you (or your family or friend) may have. This will help determine how to locate a mental health professional covered by your insurance. (If you are willing to pay out-of-pocket for therapy, see item #3 “Private Pay” below). If the insurance is:
- Medi-Cal/Medi-Care – Your local County will provide psychiatric services.To learn about steps to receiving Medi-Cal and different health plans options and their coverage, click here.
- If you’ve never been seen by a County Mental Health professional, call the Santa Clara County Mental Health Call Center (800-704-0900) to get a referral for psychiatric services
- If you have the Santa Clara Family Health Plan, call (800) 260-2055 and ask for a list of “providers” (medical and psychiatric professionals who are covered by that health plan)
- If you have the Anthem Blue Cross Partnership Plan, call (800) 407-4627, and ask for a list of “providers” (medical and psychiatric professionals who are covered by that health plan)
or, use the Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal Find a Doctor online search
- If you have Medicare, the Medicare Physician Compare web page can assist you in finding a physician or other clinician who is enrolled in Medicare.
- If you have both Medi-Cal and Medicare, you may be eligible for extra, integrated services via Santa Clara County Cal MediConnect Plan. Call 408-350-3200 for more information about your Medi-Cal/Medicare options.
- Other Private Insurance – Call your insurance company’s customer services number. You should be able to obtain list of providers that take your insurance. Also, see the “Resources for Locating Therapy” section below. Some online search engines allow you to specify insurance in search criteria, so you limit search results to people who take your insurance. Also, you can ask a professional if they accept your insurance.
- Private Pay – If you want to pay directly for psychiatric professionals, you can use the information listed below in “Resources for Locating Therapy”.
File a Complaint
You have a right to file a complaint with your health plan. You might want to try talking to your doctor about the problem first.
To file a complaint:
- Call the Member/Customer Service phone number for your health plan.
- State clearly that you want to file a formal complaint and then explain the problem.
- If your problem is urgent, be sure to tell your health plan. Or call the California State Department of Managed Health Care at 1-888-466-2219 right away.
- You can also file your complaint by letter or e-mail. Sometimes you can file a complaint through your health plan’s website.
- You can ask your doctor, or a doctor outside of your health plan, to help you by writing a letter explaining why you need the service.
- You must file your complaint within 6 months after the incident or action that is the cause of your problem.
- After you file your complaint, your health plan must give you a decision within 30 days, or 3 days if your health problem is urgent.
- How to get insurance to cover denied claims – Step By Step Guide
If your complaint is urgent, or if you are not satisfied with your health plan’s response, you can file an external appeal (also called an Independent Medical Review.) To do this, contact the California State Department of Managed Health Care at 1-888-466-2219, or go to their File a Complaint page. You can also use this form to lodge a consumer complaint for issues such as qualify of service, cancellation of coverage, or disputes on billing and co-pays.
Resources for Locating Mental Health Care
The following resources can be used to help you find mental health treatment services in your community, including affordable treatment for those without insurance or who want to go outside their insurance provider list.
Mental Health providers can help you to deal with current stress, heal old traumas, make decisions about medication and develop treatment plans that reflect your goals. Choosing a mental health provider can be challenging, but make sure you match your needs with his or her experience and specialty to get the most out of your treatment.
Over time, many people with mental health conditions say that treatment helps them: feel stronger, have a greater ability to cope with symptoms, and develop skills for building their relationships and pursuing goals. In fact, most people who seek professional help feel better. For example, more than 80 percent of people treated for depression improve, and treatment for panic disorders has up to a 90 percent success rate.
There are many types of mental health professionals. Finding the right one for you may require some research. Often it is a good idea to describe the symptoms and/or problems to your primary care provider first. He or she can suggest the type of mental health professional you should call.
Types of mental health providers:
Psychiatrist – A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.) who specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating mental illness. They also monitor the effects of mental illness on other physical conditions (such as problems with the heart or high blood pressure), and the effects of medicines on the body (such as weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, sleep, and kidney or liver functioning). They can prescribe medications. There are several subspecialty in psychiatry including child and adolescent, forensic, and addictions(dual diagnosis).
Psychologist – Psychologists have has a doctoral degree (Ph.D., Psy.D. or Ed.D.) in clinical, educational, counseling or research psychology. Licensed psychologists are qualified to do counseling and psychotherapy, perform psychological testing, and provide treatment for mental disorders. They are not, though, medical doctors. In California, psychologists cannot legally write prescriptions or perform medical procedures .
Often a psychologist will work in association with a psychiatrist or other medical doctor who provides the medical treatment for mental illness while the psychologist provides the psychotherapy.
Pychiatric or Mental Health Nurse Practitioner – Psychiatric or mental health nurse practitioners can provide assessment, diagnosis and therapy for mental health conditions or substance use disorders. They can also prescribe medications. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners practice in collaborations with a psychiatrist. Psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP) have a four-year college degree in nursing (BSN) and complete an approved masters of science in nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP).
Clinical Social Worker – A clinical social worker has at least a master’s degree in social work and training to be able to evaluate and treat mental illnesses. In addition to psychotherapy, social workers can provide case management and hospital discharge planning as well as work as an advocate for patients and their family.
Licensed Professional Counselors – A psychological counselor is a mental health professional who has a master’s degree (MA) in psychology, counseling, or a related field. In order to be licensed, the professional counselor also needs two additional years’ experience working with a qualified mental health professional after graduate school. A mental health counselor is qualified to evaluate and treat mental problems by providing counseling or psychotherapy.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist – A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) treat their client’s problems in context of the family. They help their clients find long-term solutions to mental and emotional disorders that affect the behaviors and cause relationship issues such as parent-child conflicts, couples counseling, depression and eating disorders. A Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) has earned a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, as well as a license to practice marriage and family therapy in his or her state.
Pastoral Counselor – Pastoral counselors are clergy members with training in clinical pastoral education. They are trained to diagnose and provide counseling. Pastoral counselors are members of the Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) and can have equivalents to a doctorate in counseling.
Certified Peer Specialists – These specialists have lived experience with a mental health condition or substance use disorder. They assist with recovery by helping a person set goals and develop their strengths. They provide support, mentoring and guidance on a variety of topics including feeling isolated, getting medical benefits, substance abuse support and/or other areas you need help with. In Santa Clara County, you can access Peer Support Services through County Behavioral Health system or at Self-Help Centers.
- Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies’ fact sheet “How do I choose a Therapist?” and some of the sites listed below provide detailed information to help you choose a mental health professional and to enable you to better understand treatment options and the treatment process.
- Psych Central’s Article on 10 ways to find a good therapist has some good tips on best ways to obtain referrals to good professionals.
- You can also attend NAMI and other peer and family support groups. and ask for recommendations from others in the group.
- Tips on Finding the Right Therapist for Teens
- How to get insurance to cover denied claims
- Checklist to bring to the appointment. Download, complete this useful checklist from Mental Health America before your appointment with your doctor. You can use this to remind you of what to talk to the doctor and help you keep track of your progress.
* Note: Many online directories are incomplete as professionals must ask to be included. Try different search methods, or, if you have health insurance, contact the plan’s customer service number for a list of providers.
- Psychology Today’s Therapy Directory Search for mental health professionals in your area, by zip code, city, insurance, specialty, etc. For each provider listed, read about their therapy approach, specialty areas, fee policy (insurance, out of network sliding scale), credentials and contact information. (*Note: Therapist credentials include years in practice and school/trainings)
- Web MD’s Find a Psychiatrist allows you to search for psychiatrists by state, city, specialty, insurance, etc.
- Counseling California offers a searchable directory California-based Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists.
- GoodTherapy offers a searchable database of over 1600 counselors and therapists worldwide. GoodTherapy is dedicated to promoting healthy counseling and psychotherapy. (*Note: Can search based on “Type of Service”, including “Home-Based Therapy, “On-Line Therapy”, “Group Therapy”, “Individual Therapy”).
- The Medicare Physician Compare can assist you in finding a physician who is enrolled in Medicare.
- Santa Clara County Mental/Behavioral Health Support and Support Groups – This Santa Clara County Network of Care service directory lists local community support groups, categorized by group type
- Community Support Groups around the Bay Area of California – Published by Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), this directory offers an extensive variety of Santa Clara and San Mateo area support groups focusing on a variety of mental and physical illnesses.
- Parent Solutions – Ph. 408-292-4357 Offer collaborative behavioral health services for children, teens, adults, couples, families and older adults in Spanish and English at San Jose and Morgan Hill. They take insurance and offer sliding scale. Flyer
- 211 Santa Clara County – 211 is the dialing code for free, non-emergency community, health and disaster information in Santa Clara County. They also have a Search Database for finding various types of services in this county. Type “Mental Health” in the search bar to find a variety of local mental health treatment resources.
- The LGBTQ Youth Space – Phone: 408-347-7940. A community drop-in center and mental health program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and ally youth and young adults ages 13-25 who live in Santa Clara County..
- Sourcewise Resource Connection – Phone: 408-350-3200, option 1. Offers a comprehensive database of community resources designed to help you locate services available in the Santa Clara County community. The most complete, up-to-date, and personalized information can be found by contacting Sourcewise Community Resource Specialists at (408) 350-3200, or at email@example.com.
- BACA (Bay Area Clinical Associates) – Offers free needs assessment for anyone ages 26 or younger seeking mental health treatment. This is a 60-90 screening with a trained counselor to determine which level of care is most appropriate to the individual. At the conclusion of the assessment, referrals for on-going treatment are provided, which my include intake at BACA outpatient services, or referrals to outside organizations. *Note: BACA’s services are not free or sliding scale, but they are covered by some insurance providers. BACA serves children, adolescents and young adults. Contact BACA at 408-996-7950 for more information.
- Olivos – Phone: 650-781-4148. San Mateo company offering private pay mental health psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery services focusing on avoiding institutional care. Services are individualized and tailored to the client and include case management, psychiatry, therapy, vocational rehab, supported education, medication management, life skills development, independent living, housing, or companion services.
- SAMHSA Mental Health Facilities Locator – A searchable directory provided by the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Health Information Network that can help you find local community outpatient, inpatient and residential treatment facilities, for mental health and/or addiction issues. Enter your state and/or county in the upper right “Find Facility” search bar to start.
- Psychology Today Psychiatric Residential Treatment Centers in California – lists residential mental health treatment facilities. List is searchable by disorder treated and by insurance accepted.
The following table lists other low cost therapists and mental health clinics available within the Santa Clara County.
Santa Clara County Low Cost Therapy options
|408-997-0200||Almaden Valley Counseling Service||Provide short and long term counseling for children, adolescents, individual adults, couples and families. Fees are based on a sliding scale and are determined by income.|
|408-292-4357||Parent Solutions||Provide parenting coaching, individual therapy in English and Spanish in 2 locations – San Jose and Morgan Hill. Some insurances are accepted, they also offer sliding scale. Parent Solutions Flyer|
|650-326-6576||Family and Children’s Services Mental Health||Offer counseling for a range of mental health needs, including grief, anxiety, depression, peer and family relationships, dual diagnosis, mood disorders, and trauma. Can provide psychiatric services and medication monitoring as needed. Accept Medi-Cal (with referral from County Mental Health) and most insurance plans, and charge sliding scale fees for clients without health coverage.|
|408-729-9700||Foothill Services||Provides mental health counseling for children, adults and families in East and South San Jose. Children can be seen individually and in groups at no out-of-pocket cost. Individual adults can be seen on a sliding scale fee based on current income.|
|408-869-9160||Goodwill Wellness Center||Offer free therapy to a multitude of clients, including veterans and parolees, provided by supervised PhD students and interns.|
|650-961-9300||Gronowski Clinic at Pacific Graduate School of Psychology||Psychology training clinic providing counseling and psychotherapy services to adults, adolescents, children, couples and families in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County. Fees are sliding scale. Services are provided by doctoral level psychology students supervised by licensed psychologists|
|408-524-4900||John F. Kennedy University Sunnyvale Counseling Center||Provides high-quality mental health services to adults, children, couples and families at affordable rates. Staffed by mature graduate students from the Counseling Psychology programs who are supervised by licensed professionals.|
|408-716-8101||Lighthouse of Hope Counseling Center – Sunnyvale||Non-profit organization provides affordable counseling services to individuals, couples and families.|
|650-321-3055||Mental Research Institute||Treat individual, child, adolescents, couples, and families with creative, solution-oriented therapy. Offer therapy in English, Spanish, Mandarin, French, Japanese, Hebrew, and Vietnamese. Sliding-scale fees are available based on income.|
|408-924-3074||The San Jose State University Psychosocial Clinic||Group and one-on-one Psychotherapy support services offered by student therapists under supervision by licensed Occupational Therapist and SJSU faculty member. Fees are sliding scale. Open Tues/Thurs during Fall and Spring school semesters.|
|1-800-704-0900||Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services Department||Provide services in several languages to people of all ages in Santa Clara County who suffer from severe behavioral health (mental health/addiction) problems. BHSD’s network of county operated and contracted programs offer outpatient treatment and emergency behavioral health care that includes temporary hospitalization for individuals with severe mental illness. Eligibility for services is based on behavioral health needs. Medi-Cal beneficiaries are eligible for services based on the amount of their coverage.|
|650-324-3330||The Transitional Program – Palo Alto||A community outpatient mental health program offering quality adjunct therapy to clients that have a prescribing physician or may have a primary therapist. They also provide classes on stress-reduction, relaxation, self-care, self-confidence, self-regulation, and more. The program is helpful for people transitioning from isolation and/or more intense mental health programs. Services are all offered on a no-cost/sliding-scale basis.|
|408-295-4011||YWCA Silicon Valley Counseling Services||Offers confidential, short and long term, counseling and support services to clients of all ages including individuals, couples, families and groups. Counselors are Master’s level marriage and family therapy and social work counselors who are supervised by licensed therapists. Services are offered on an income-based sliding-scale. Also accept Victim Witness Compensation.|
There are a number of professional provider associations and other national organizations that provide treatment referral services. These organizations are listed below with links to their websites.
- American Counseling Association
- American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
- American Association of Pastoral Counselors
- American Psychiatric Association’s Choosing a Psychiatrist (PDF)
- American Psychological Association
- American Residential Treatment Association
- Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
- National Association of Social Workers
- National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry – Click on “Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finder“
- American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
- American Association of Children’s Residential Centers (Note: You can sort list of treatment centers by state or reach the national office by calling 877-332-2272 )
- Association of Black Psychologists
- Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists
- Su Familia (National Alliance for Hispanic Health) at 1-866-783-2645
- ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders)
- AllTreatment.- an aggregator that provides a number of listings for substance use treatment facilities.
- Anxiety Disorders Association of America: Treatment Centers
- ATTACh or 866-453-8224 (Association for Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children) – offers treatment referrals for children with attachment disorder
- Attention Deficit Disorder Association
- Autism Society of America
- Behavioral Tech, LLC – treatment referrals for borderline personality disorder
- Brain Injury Association of America and http://www.biausa.org/state-affiliates.htm – list of state offices
- Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – patient to patient recommendation section
- Freedom from Fear – treatment referrals for anxiety and depression; Use the Finding Help/Resources option on the left hand side of the home page
- Give an Hour – non-profit organization offering free mental health services for Veterans and their loved ones through a network of volunteer mental health professionals
- Hospice Foundation of America – grief support groups
- In The Rooms – the world’s largest social network for the global recovery community, for people already in recovery, seeking immediate help with any addiction, and their family, friends, and allies. You will have unlimited access to over 117 live online Recovery meetings weekly. ITR offers AA, NA, and other 12 Step and non 12 Step Support Groups, Geo Locatable Global Meeting Finder, Daily E Meditations, Afternoon Affirmations, Free iPhone and Android Apps, Speaker Tape Library and much more. For immediate treatment, go to Find a Treatment Center
- International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation – See Find a Doctor Online under “Information and Resources” on right-hand side of the home page
- International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation
- National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder – Dept. of Veterans Affairs PTSD Information Center offers information about PTDS and its treatment. Look for box on the right hand side of the page “Where to Get Help” to access the section of the site with links to the VA facilities locator and other informational resources/.
- National Center for Trauma-Informed Care
- National Eating Disorders Association
- National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization or 1-800-658-8898 – grief counseling
- Postpartum Support International (Use the Find Local Support, Resources, and Events option to find contact information for your State Coordinator to get a list of psychiatrists and therapists in your area who specialize in reproductive-related mood disorders).
- Rape Abuse and Incest National Network – counseling centers throughout the U.S.
- SAMHSA Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator and the SAMHSA 24/7 Treatment and Referral line at 1.800.662.4357 provide referrals to alcohol, substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment facilities, including facilities that offer sliding scale fees and other special payment arrangements. Dual diagnosis services provide integrated treatment for individuals who have both an alcohol or substance abuse problem and a mental illness. Use the detailed search option on the left hand side of the page to find the facilities that most closely match your needs.
- S.A.F.E. Alternatives treatment referrals for self injury
- The Balanced Mind Parent Network – A program of Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). Provides resources and guidance for families raising children and adolescents with Bipolar Disorder.
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network Go to “Finding Help for Sexually Abused Children” and click on the “National Network Members” page option, to search by state
- TARA at 1-888-482-7227 (Treatment and Research Advancements) National Association for Personality Disorder; treatment referrals for borderline personality disorder
- TRICARE mental health services for military personnel and their families
- U.S. Vets a non-profit organization that helps homeless veterans access mental health and substance abuse services, along with housing and other community supports to support successful reintegration into the community. Current locations include California, Texas, Arizona, Washington DC, Nevada, and Hawaii.
- World Federation for Mental Health can assist people from other countries throughout the world in finding mental health services in their area.
- 7 Cups is a website (and also a mobile app) providing free support to people experiencing emotional distress by connecting them with non-professional listeners trained in active listening. The listener interacts with the person seeking help via anonymous and confidential chat. Listeners are rated by peers and those to whom they listen. 7 Cups also provides chat support groups and referrals to therapists. View the 7 Cups Flyer.
- Strength of Us: is an online community supported by NAMI where young adults living with mental health concerns can provide mutual support.
- Voices4Hope: is a place for teenagers and young adults with mental health challenges to talk with each other and gain access to information that will help them live happily and independently.
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) online Support: Provides free support for people living with depression and bipolar disorder.You can share experiences, discuss coping skills, and offer hope to one another. DBSA support groups are peer-led, meaning they are facilitated by someone living with a mood disorder. You can find groups for peers, young adults, and friends and family members.
- Postpartum Progress: This website maintains an online forum in addition to providing a list of support groups.
- Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization: This 12-steps program for children who grew up with alcoholic parents or caregivers also has online meetings.