Health Tips / Mental Health / Get Mental Health Care

Get Mental Health Care

Medi-Cal covers care for both mental health and substance use disorders. Some services are covered by Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) and some are covered by HPSM. All members can call the BHRS ACCESS Call Center for help determining how to get connected to care. If you are not sure whether you need help, talk to your primary care provider (PCP) or call the BHRS ACCESS Call Center at 1-800-686-0101. TDD users call 1-800-943-2833.

To find out more about what is covered by your health plan, check your member handbook or call HPSM.

How to get mental health care 

If you are not already in treatment

Talk to your PCP or call the BHRS ACCESS Call Center at 1-800-686-0101. TDD users call 1-800-943-2833. Leave a message with your name and call-back number and someone from BHRS will return your call. You can also talk to your PCP and they may be able to help you.

If you are already in treatment

Reach out to your mental health provider or substance abuse treatment program. Ask for help or update them on how you are doing.

If you are being treated at a county mental health clinic

Visit the San Mateo County Health website for guidance.

More information on free local resources

San Mateo County has many local mental health and substance use resources that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Learn more about these free mental health hotlines

How mental health care helps

Studies show that simply talking with someone who listens can make you feel better. A therapist can also help you make and stick to a self-care plan for lifelong emotional wellness. If your symptoms are serious and long-lasting, your therapist may suggest medication as part of your care. 

Self-care tips

Taking time to prioritize your mental and physical health can help you navigate life’s normal ups and downs. Integrating self-care habits into your normal routine is important for keeping stress in check, getting better sleep, reducing anxiety and boosting your mood. 

Look through the simple self-care practices below or download all six self-care tips. 

Need help putting self-care into practice? Call the BHRS ACCESS Call Center at 1-800-686-0101. They can get you connected to professional help for mental health and substance use issues.

Try these six self-care tips

Click the items below to read more about each tip.

Keep in touch with people you trust on a routine basis (daily, if possible).

  • Call or text friends and family to connect on a personal level. If you have children in your life, read them a story.
  • Use FaceTime or Skype to express your feelings and laugh (which lets pent up feelings go).

A free community service. Volunteers who are trained to listen are on hand any time 24/7.

  • Peer Run Warm Line: 1-855-845-7415 (online chat also available).
  • Friendship Line (for seniors): 1-888-670-1360.

Studies show that people with a “glass half-full” outlook are healthier and less stressed. They can even live longer!

  • Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment. For example, take a walk, garden, clean, read, listen to a favorite song/ album/podcast or try a new recipe.
  • Practice positive self-talk. You might think, “Being alone all the time is just too sad. I’ll never get through this.” Instead, try “I’ve been through challenging times before and I am strong enough to make it through this.”
  • Try to remember a specific happy memory in detail. That will help you feel good now.

This will help you process unhelpful thoughts and feelings.

  • Journals let you to look back with self-confidence at how you coped with challenges. They can also help you think through or “feel through” difficult feelings.
  • Start a “gratitude journal” where you jot down things that went well in your day. They can be big or small, such as laughing with a friend, seeing a beautiful sunset or walking your dog.
  • If you don’t want to write, draw pictures about how you feel.

Expand your skills and knowledge to keep your mind active and engaged.

  • Look for virtual tours of museums or places you’d like to visit.
  • Read about a topic that has nothing to do with the news. Is there someone or some time period you’ve always wanted to know more about? This is a great time to learn more by reading book watching a documentary on that subject.
  • Keep your brain challenged with online puzzles, crosswords or sudoku.
  • Practice a musical instrument to keep your mind focused and engaged.

Nurture your mind, body and spirit!

  • Reading novels, listening to audiobooks and watching movies are great ways to distract yourself for a bit and enjoy the fun of storytelling.
  • Put on some of your favorite music, close your eyes and listen without distractions or talking. Focusing only on the music can help soothe you and calm your mind.
  • Try meditation. Sit and focus on your breathing. Try breathing in as you count to five, hold your breath for a count of six, and then release your breath as you count to seven. Doing this a few times is a quick way to feel more relaxed. Or you can do a guided meditation:
    • Search for a guided meditation online (e.g., YouTube).
    • Download a free app, such as:
      • Calm - For sleep, meditation and relaxation.
      • My Life Meditation - Helps you stop, breathe and think clearly.
  • Listen to podcasts that support self-care, such as On Purpose with Jay Shetty.
  • Eat well. Keep a food journal to track your healthy eating efforts and jot down your intentions to become mindful of what you’re eating.
  • Go outside. If you are unable to get outside, sit near a window with natural light.

Bonus tip! Help youth cope with quarantine.

Learn about common mental health issues and find self-help resources