Local Organizations

Counseling Centers in Santa Barbara
The organizations listed below reflect counseling services available in the local Santa Barbara community. Please contact the organizations for more information about types of services, charges, and insurance policies accepted.


                                     *faith based


County of Santa Barbara’s Department of Behavioral Wellness

The Department of Behavioral Wellness provides case management and psychiatric services for adults, transition-age youths (TAY), children living in Santa Barbara County with Medi-Cal insurance, and for crisis interventions. Services may be in-patient or out-patient and can be for mental health or substance abuse, or both.

To request mental health services:

  • If anyone is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.  Explain that you are calling regarding a mental health crisis and be specific about what the danger is.
  • Call your insurance plan to get a referral to a covered health provider.
  • Call the Department of Behavioral Wellness 24-hour toll-free access line at (888) 868-1649.

Private Agencies Serving the Needs of People Living with Mental Illness

Several agencies in Santa Barbara County helping people living with mental illness are listed below. Each organization offers different services. Please contact them to learn more.

  • Crescend Health (formerly Phoenix of Santa Barbara) offers an array of services for adults living with mental illness.  Some services accept private-pay clients; some require referrals through Santa Barbara County’s Department of Behavioral Wellness. Contact Crescend Health’s Clinical Director, Debra Simon, LMFT at (805) 965-3434, extension 107.
  • PathPoint operates in the tri-county area with multiple programs, including a behavioral health division with psychiatric services and case management.  PathPoint’s Parish Nursing program also supports clients’ physical needs. Clients are received through referrals from Santa Barbara County’s Behavioral Wellness Department.
  • Sanctuary Centers of Santa Barbara is a nonprofit organization providing treatment for a fee in the areas of residential facilities, outpatient programs, co-occurring disorders treatment programs, and supported or in-home living programs. For more information, you may contact them at (805) 569-2785.
  • Sansum Clinic is a large, independent nonprofit, healthcare organization serving Santa Barbara County and surrounding areas.  The Psychiatry Department provides mental and emotional health services, including both therapy and medication management for those with accepted health insurance.  In the city of Santa Barbara, the Psychiatry Department can be reached at (805) 681-7517. In addition, Sansum Clinic’s Health and Wellness Program offers courses for well being, including Healthier Living, a course co-taught with the Mental Wellness Center for living well with chronic health conditions. Contact an operator at 1-800-472-6786 for information about obtaining a current catalog of courses.
  • Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Psychiatric Department offers voluntary treatment of acute psychiatric crises, mental health counseling, and up-to-date treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction in its facilities. Most programs require billing through Medicare or accepted private insurance plans. For more information, talk with the care coordinator or make an appointment by calling (805) 569-8339.
  • Transitions Mental Health Association is a community-based, nonprofit organization that operates mainly in Santa Barbara’s North County and in San Luis Obispo with practical programs to serve adults with serious mental illness and family members. Please contact staff at (805) 540-6500 for more information.

State Organizations

  • California Department of Rehabilitation provides services for adults re-entering community life. One important service is employment. The Mental Wellness Center is an approved vendor for the Department of Rehabilitation and works with people who have a diagnosed mental health condition to find competitive work.
  • Mental Health Association in California is one of the affiliated Mental Health Associations across the nation, with representation nationally, state-wide, and at specific geographic locales (including Santa Barbara, where we operate as the Mental Wellness Center!). The California organization uses a community-based approach to ensure that all people who require mental health services receive them and are not denied other opportunities based on their mental health status, so that they may live full and productive lives.
  • Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) is the outcome of Proposition 63 passing in California. It mandates a 1-percent increase in individual income taxes to expand mental health services. MHSA is an important funding stream in California for mental health services. Most funding is disbursed through county governments.
  • California Addiction Center helps people reshape their lives. Stimulants, marijuana and alcohol are among the substances most often treated in California rehabs, but there are quality programs available for every type of substance abuse disorder. See their website for more information on a location near you.

National Organizations

  • Mental Health of America (MHA) is the nation's leading community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans.  Previously the National Mental Health Association, MHA operates at the federal level. Other Mental Health Associations operate at the state level and in specific geographic areas, such as the Mental Wellness Center operating in Santa Barbara County (legal name Mental Health Association in Santa Barbara County). Affiliations between these community-based organizations improve upon and exchange ideas regarding best practices for wellness.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for and with the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.  (In Santa Barbara, the Southern Santa Barbara County Chapter works with the Family Services offered by the Mental Wellness Center.) Read more.
  • National Council for Behavioral Health unifies professionals treating mental illness and substance abuse across the country and promotes effective programs and practices.
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. It’s one branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and they are overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the federal agency charged with reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities through prevention, treatment, and rehabilitative services.

Additional Resources