Where to Look for Mental Health Resources in San Benito County

Find help from these websites, telephone hotlines and organizations

PUBLISHED SEP 13, 2022 12:00 A.M.
Help is available for people who feel like they’re falling apart.

Help is available for people who feel like they’re falling apart.   Rawpixel.com   Shutterstock

Mental health has become a huge talking point across the nation, especially in recent years as the world has been stressed and isolated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While efforts have been made to provide more resources and assistance to Americans, states and individual counties tend to be working at a faster pace than the federal government.

One example of this is the work being done in San Benito County. In the summer of 2021, the Hollister Police Department announced a partnership with San Benito County Behavioral Health Department to implement the S.A.F.E. (Support, Awareness, Follow-up and Engagement) Program.

According to Benito Link, the S.A.F.E program will partner a police officer responding to certain types of non-criminal 911 calls with a Management Services Manager. An officer responding to mental health 911 calls generally transports people to the local emergency room to speak with a clinician. Now, when the SAFE team is working, dispatchers will assign calls related to mental health, substance abuse, or homelessness to the officer and a mental health professional. The officer and mental health professional will respond as a team.

While San Benito County is improving mental health access through S.A.F.E., there are also other resources available through the county. Check out the list below to get the help you need, when you need it. 

1. San Benito County Behavioral Health Department

The county of San Benito provides specialty mental health services and substance abuse treatment for people who live in San Benito County, including those who are eligible for Medi-Cal. The department provides counseling services, medication assistance, and other resources. Goals include: 

  • Improving mental health care.
  • Working with other health care providers to arrange for quality care.
  • Assisting with preventative measures.
  • Providing treatment methods to overcome substance abuse.

Individuals may receive assistance with obtaining the following services: 

  • Crisis intervention
  • Psychiatric evaluations
  • Medication consultations
  • Individual, family, or group counseling
  • School services for young people
  • Referrals for outside programming 

Contact Behavioral Health Services at (831) 636-4020;


2. Family Service Agency of the Central Coast

The Family Service Agency of the Central Coast has a 24-hour suicide hotline available to anyone free of charge. Outside of this, the agency also offers a variety of services to help individuals struggling with a variety of issues. These include: 

Survivors Healing Center—This program offers online support groups and workshops for adult survivors of child sexual abuse and members of their support system. Find their current roster of offerings here

Counseling for Adults and Seniors—Individual, couple or family counseling is available with licensed psychologists and social workers. To be eligible, you  need to have Medicare Part B, or Medi-Cal through the Central California Alliance for Health and Medicare. You can also pay privately on a sliding-fee scale.

Counseling for Children—Children struggle with a variety of issues, including depression, anxiety, and attention disorders. Sometimes their struggles are more specific, such as dealing with a school bully. Whatever the circumstance, the agency can help with individual and family counseling, paid for through Medicare, Medi-Cal, or privately.

Find out more about these programs by visiting the Family Service Agency website or by calling (831) 346-6767.


3. Help for Young People

There are a variety of supportive organizations for young people throughout San Benito County, including these two: 

Youth Alliance—Through the Caminos School-Based Counseling Program, Youth Alliance offers bilingual counseling and program services to children and teens for a variety of issues, including peer-to-peer conflicts, delays in developmental milestones, exposure to violence or abuse, substance abuse, repeated truancy and social isolation. Visit the Youth Alliance website for more information or call (831) 636-2850.

Esperanza Center—This wellness center is open to transitional-age youth, and also has weekly drop-in hours. All services are free of charge, and newcomers are welcome. After a few visits, clients will be returned to Esperanza's main clinic to be assessed and enroll in formal services. Visit the Esperanza Center website or call (831) 636-4000. The Esperanza Center is located in Hollister.

4. Help for the LGBTQ+ Community

LGBTQ Resource Center—Located inside of the Esperanza Center in Hollister, the LGBTQ Resource Center provides support, resources, and activities for adults and young people who identify as members of the LBGTQ+ community and are struggling with life issues. Activities include everything from holiday gift exchanges to Bob Ross–themed paint nights. Visit the LGBTQ Resource Center on Facebook or send an email to lgbtqsanbenito@gmail.com.

5. Help for Veterans

The San Benito County Veterans Office helps veterans with benefits claims, homeless services, counseling, and free transportation to the neighboring VA Medical Center in Monterey County and the VA Outpatient Clinic in San Jose. The office also offers special events and recognition during Veteran’s Day weekend and year-round help and assistance to veterans and their families. Located at the Veterans Memorial Building in Hollister, the office can be reached at (831) 637-4846 or on the San Benito County website.


6. Warmlines, Hotlines, and Lifelines

Sometimes you don’t need long-term counseling or support, but just someone to speak to once in awhile when you’re feeling down. These hotlines are equipped to handle various types of mental health crises, from mild anxiety to suicidal thoughts. 

San Benito 24/7 Suicide Hotline—(831) 636-4020

Community Solutions Hotline—(831) 637-7233

California Peer Run Warmline—(855) 845-7415

County Crisis Services—(888) 636-4020 

Esperanza Center—(831) 636-4020

California Youth Line—(800) 852-8336 (or text TEEN to 839863)

7. Substance Abuse Support Groups

AlAnon and Alateen—(888) 425-2666

Alcoholics Anonymous—(956) 399-2187

California Smokers Helpline—(800) 662-8887

San Benito County Substance Abuse—(831) 636-4020

Bicycle Help (Opiod Treatment)—(844) 943-2514

Bright Heart—(800) 892-2695

Bright Future Recovery Center—(831) 245-1623

Hazel Hopkins Emergency Center—(831) 637-5711

8. Other Targeted Support Groups

Caregiving Resource Center and Hotline—(831) 637-7303

Special Needs Parents—(831) 722-2800

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance—(800) 826-3632

National Eating Disorders—(800) 931-2237

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline—(800) 985-5990

9. Bereavement Support

Jacob’s Heart—(831) 724-9100. For families who have experienced a childhood cancer loss or impending loss.

Hospice Transition and Grief Program—(831) 649-7750

Grief Recovery Method—(800) 334-7606. National organization that travels to Hollister for multi-week groups.

Or see this grief counseling resource page for private therapists who specialize in treating the bereaved.

10. Before You Call 911...

As of July 2022, people who are experiencing a mental health crisis and are in need of immediate help can call 988, the new three-digit dialing code, to access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Advocates pushed for new three-digit number as an alternative to calling 911, which can result in police intervention rather than medical care. The number should be easier to remember for people in crisis. Read more about both 988 and 911 in the story below.

California will soon be getting a new hotline number as an alternative to 911 for mental health crises.

911 and 988: New Mental Health Crisis Line and the Original Emergency Number, Explained

California will soon add a new emergency hotline service with the number 988. Here’s the story behind that new service, and the original 911 number.

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