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

  • Medi-Cal

    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.

  • Commercial Insurance

    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

  • Suicide Hotlines

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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:
      1. Student Success Team (SST) services
      2. Section 504 services
      3. Special Education (IEP services)



Explore other sections:

Improve Your Practice – Mental Health Skills and Practice Management

Advocate, Advocate, Advocate

or go back to Mental Health Issue Page