Resources for your patients who need mental health services:
Sources of Specialty Services for Children with Mental Health Problems and Their Families
- While this link is general in nature, it could be used with the Mental Health Practice Readiness Inventory to begin to improve the “navigation” process on getting access to mental health resources
Health Insurance Services
Note that due to Federal Mental Health Parity Laws, all health insurance is responsible for providing mental health services
Each county has contracted MediCal Managed Care entities, and most of them have subcontracted (e.g. Beacon Mental Health) to provide mental health services for “mild to moderate” behavioral health conditions. This includes counseling, diagnostic services, and psychiatric consultation regarding medication. Some counties have developed explicit rules for what is a “mild-moderate” condition by age, and others are less explicit. For all counties, moderate-severe behavioral health conditions are treated by the County Behavioral Health Program. Most managed care organizations also have case managers to assist families with accessing services.
- Contact information for California Medi-Cal Managed Care Plans: https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/individuals/Pages/MMCDHealthPlanDir.aspx
All CA commercial insurers must contract for mental health services and maintain an accurate provider list for members. Families should contact member services for assistance. Most insurers also have case managers to assist families with accessing services.
Behavioral Emergency Services
All counties have Behavioral Emergency Services, many of which have separate pediatric and adolescent access points. Many counties utilize an ACCESS phone number for this or use 211.org
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7) 1-800-273-8255
- Spanish Suicide Prevention Line (24/7) 1-888-628-9454
County Behavioral Health Services
For all counties, moderate- severe behavioral health conditions are treated by the County Behavioral Health Program. They treat uninsured as well. Many have special programs that have been funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). Many counties utilize an ACCESS phone number.
- Contact information for your county’s behavioral health services department:
School Based Services
School Based Health Clinics: Some schools, mostly middle and high schools, have publicly funded School Based Health Clinics, which are often staffed by physicians, nurses and mental health counselors. They generally provide free counseling services during school hours.
- A list of California School Based Health Centers by county and contact information and services offered is available at: https://www.schoolhealthcenters.org/school-health-centers-in-ca/locations/sbhcs-by-county/
- School Based Mental Health Services: Counseling for children and teens with moderate-severe behavioral health concerns can be offered at school sites and funded through the County Behavioral Health Agency. Check with your County Behavioral Health System to determine eligibility for this service.
- School-funded services: Children are eligible for school-funded counseling and support services when it becomes part of a school plan to improve learning. Examples of these plans are:
- Student Success Team (SST) services
- Section 504 services
- Special Education (IEP services)
- Refer families to the school for evaluation regarding eligibility for these services. Information about requesting an initial evaluation for special education services and a sample letter for parents in English and Spanish is available at: https://www.parentcenterhub.org/evaluation-2/
- Preschool/Childcare assessment and intervention programs: The California Department of Education has an assessment and intervention program for children in preschool or childcare with behavioral or developmental problems. Family Resource Centers, First 5 programs and certified preschools initiate the evaluation and refer to appropriate services. Depending upon the results of the assessment, the child may be eligible for behavioral and family-based treatment in the child care or preschool setting.
- For more information:
Community Non-profit based services
Most County Behavioral Health Programs contract with local community non-profit based services to serve children and adolescents. These non-profit programs also frequently have endowments, grant-based services and sliding scale programs. A list of non-profits serving children in your area can be found on 211.org or through the MHSOAC Program search tool at: http://transparency.mhsoac.ca.gov/searchpage
Advocacy Services for Mental Health Needs
Explore other sections:
or go back to Mental Health Issue Page