Support Mental Well-Being in Your Clients and at Your Workplace: Local Mental Health Resources

The 2009 New Year comes with many health care changes, choices and potential surprises. For many, these changes are stressful, and for some who are already handling multiple challenges — the stress of chronic illness, economic hardship, housing problems, reduced access to food and transportation — dealing with changes in their new Medicare health plan or drug plan may be mentally and emotionally overwhelming.

With the Medicare program’s growing complexity and rising stress levels in some beneficiaries, it is important that volunteers and advocates know their local county’s mental health resources. They can then refer clients to these services for support and establish a good collaborative relationship with these programs/resources, an imperative aspect of creating our strong public health foundation for our communities’ senior citizens and people with disabilities. In addition, some of these mental health resources also help advocates and providers make sure their office and counseling spaces are set up safely. Many also provide in-service trainings to organizations on their programs and how to best utilize their services.

Below is a helpful list of mental health resources. Check the links for local offices in your county.

California Department of Mental Health

Offers a wide variety of community and hospital-based services that are directly provided at the local level by counties and their contract providers. Some of the adult-specific programs include:

Find your local county mental health department.

Network of Care for Mental Health

is an online resource to get information about mental health issues and to search for a wide variety of mental health and other support services in your local community. Created by Trilogy Integrated Resources LLC, a company that works primarily with state and county governments and other local human service entities to establish one-stop information places, centered on highly interactive, community-based websites.

National Alliance on Mental Illness

A national grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families, NAMI has local and state chapters throughout the country. NAMI provides: public education and information (through their website and help line 1-800-950-6264); peer education and support groups; and state and federal advocacy.

California Occupational Safety & Health Administration (Cal/OSHA)

Cal/OSHA is responsible for enforcing California laws and regulations pertaining to workplace safety and health and for providing assistance to employers and workers about workplace safety and health issues. Cal/OSHA offers consultation services where employers can arrange on-site assistance in evaluating and creating workplace safety. Consultation assistance is also provided through telephone support, publications, and eTools. All services provided by Cal/OSHA Consultation are provided free of charge to California employers/organizations.

To arrange an on-site visit or obtain technical information, contact the Cal/OSHA Consultation area office nearest your workplace or email them at You can also call them at 1-800-963-9424.

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.