Resources: How to help those in crisis | News | Palo Alto Online |


Resources: How to help those in crisis


Below is a non-exhaustive list of local resources for young people who are at risk of harming themselves or need mental health support, as well as their family and friends.

Resources for parents

• If you feel that your child (of any age) is at immediate risk of self-harm or harming anyone else, call 911 and ask the dispatcher to send a crisis intervention team (CIT) officer.

• If your teenager is suffering from an urgent psychiatric crisis, including threatening self-harm or suicide, psychiatric crisis intervention and assessment are available 24/7 at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center's Psychiatric Emergency Department. The hospital offers the only teen inpatient-hospitalization unit in San Mateo County. For psychiatric emergency services, call 650-696-5915.

• If your child is in crisis (and is under 18 years of age and is in Santa Clara County) but is not at immediate risk, call Uplift Family Services ( and they will send a crisis counselor free of charge. 24-hour crisis line: 408-379-9085 or 877-412-7474.

• If your child needs inpatient mental health treatment and the situation is not yet at a crisis level, San Jose Behavioral Health offers the only inpatient adolescent hospital unit for ages 14 to 17 in Santa Clara County and accepts patients regardless of insurance coverage. 24-hour line: 877-801-5455

Resources for teens

• The Santa Clara County Suicide & Crisis Hotline is available 24/7 to provide support for suicidal persons and those around them: 855-278-4204; in Spanish: 1-888-628-9454.

• Text anything to 741741, the Crisis Text Line (, to start a conversation with a trained crisis volunteer.

• The Bill Wilson Center ( offers a general crisis line, 408-850-6125, and 24/7 teen line for youth ages 7-24: 888-247-7717.

• Chat 4 Teens connects Santa Clara County teens (12 to 17 years old) with a trained counselor in a live chat message, available Monday-Friday from 5- 9 p.m. To chat, go to

• The StarVista ( San Mateo County crisis hotline is available 24/7 for anyone who feels sad, hopeless or suicidal; anyone in need of general mental health support or service referrals; and family members or friends who are concerned about a loved one: 650-579-0350

• For LGBTQ-specific support, call the Trevor Project Lifeline ( 866-488-7386.

• The California Youth Crisis Line ( is available 24/7 to teens and young adults (ages 12-24) and any adults supporting youth: 800-843-5200.

The following organizations offer expedited evaluations for possible mental health conditions in youth:

• Bay Area Clinical Associates serves youth through age 25, takes insurance, and has offices in San Jose, San Mateo and Oakland. Fill out the online appointment request form at and someone will contact you within 48 hours.

• El Camino Hospital's ASPIRE intensive outpatient program, an eight- to 12-week after-school program for children, teens and young adults with anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions, offers free assessments and serves youth through age 25, covered by all insurance and Medi-Cal. Call 650-940-7000 (Mountain View) or 866-789-6089 to schedule a free, confidential assessment.

• Palo Alto nonprofit Children's Health Council serves youth up to age 17 and offers free 30-minute care consultations: 650-688-3625; Español, 650-688-3650. CHC also offers teen therapy services and an after-school intensive outpatient program (IOP) for 14- to 18-year-olds with moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and depression. CHC is now accepting IOP referrals at 650-688-3625 or

• Redwood City nonprofit Adolescent Counseling Services offers counseling and psychotherapy for youth and families at offices in Redwood City and Palo Alto. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 650-424-0852.

Local clinics

• Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic ( offers adolescent mental health services, programs and clinics. Call 650-723-5511; intake coordinator: 650-723-7704.

• The Palo Alto Medical Foundation psychiatry clinic ([ offers mental and emotional health services weekdays 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Friday till 5 p.m.). Call 650-853-2904.

General support and resources

• HEARD Alliance, a local consortium with resources on teen mental health issues.

• Project Safety Net, a youth suicide prevention and well-being collaborative.

• Kara, a local grief nonprofit with support groups. 650-321-5272 and

• Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing. (search for "youth wellbeing")

• NAMI ( Santa Clara County's trained volunteers offer free and confidential information, referral and support services to individuals, family and friends who have been affected by mental illness. Warmline/Help Desk: 1-408-453-0400, option 1. Press 1 at any time during recorded message to reach volunteers.

• Gunn High School wellness page.

• Palo Alto High School counseling and crisis resources:

• PAUSD counseling services:; health services:; community resources list:

• Outlet, a local nonprofit providing support services to LGBTQ youth.

SafeSpace in Menlo Park offers mental health services to youth aged 12 to 26.

• Los Gatos Therapy Center offers a Screen Addiction intensive outpatient program (IOP) for adolescents ages 12 through 17 who are experiencing video game addiction, social media or Internet addiction and, who also suffer from depression, anxiety, social anxiety or ADHD symptoms.

• Caltrain suicide prevention page,

• American Foundation for Suicide Prevention greater Bay Area chapter. provides mental health information, support and resources for young people.

Local support groups for teens and parents

• Santa Clara County Survivors of Suicide Group: free weekly support group for adults offered by Santa Clara County Behavioral Health. Participants are welcome on a drop-in basis after talking to the contact person. For meetings times and more information, call Eddie Subega at 408-885-6216.

• Parents Helping Parents offers a monthly anxiety and mood orders support group for parents. Meets on the third Wednesday of the month, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 1400 Parkmoor Ave. #100, San Jose.

*This is not an exhaustive list of local support groups.

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