Clients & Families

A report of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health published in 2003 found that "services and treatments must be consumer and family centered, geared to give consumers real and meaningful choices about treatment options and providers — not oriented to the requirements of bureaucracies." Similarly, one of the guiding principles of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) is to create a consumer- and family member-driven system of mental health care. 


  • Welcome to Behavioral Wellness (brochure for new clients and families) English | Spanish
  • Educational brochures about important behavioral health topics are available in English and Spanish.
  • An overview of behavioral health services and information for new clients and families are available in our publications page.
  • Support groups for consumers and family members are operated by the Department of Behavioral Wellness and other community providers. To learn more, contact the clinic closest to you.  A list of clinic locations is here.
  • Each region of the county has a Recovery Learning Community where behavioral health consumers may take classes, participate in support groups, and enjoy meals and a variety of social activities.  For more information, in South County, contact the Mental Wellness Center, 845-3351. For North and Central County, contact Transitions-Mental Health Association in Lompoc, 819-0460, Ext. 153. In Santa Maria, call 928-0139.
  • Problem-solving resources for clients and families: English | Spanish
  • Learn more about the systems change process here.  Guiding values and principles of systems change are here in English and in Spanish.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed a Working Definition of Recovery.
  • The Department of Behavioral Wellness staff training calendar is here. Some trainings are open to consumers and families.
  • A calendar of departmental and community events is here.


  • Become familiar with support, advocacy, educational organizations throughout the state and county. Here are some of them.
  • Know your rights and benefits as a Medi-Cal beneficiary. Booklets are available in English | and Spanish. More Med-Cal beneficiary information is here.
  • You may share concerns with a Patients' Rights Advocate by calling South County: (805) 681-4735; Central and North County: (805) 934-6548
  • Clients may exercise their rights to request a change of clinician and/or file a grievance or appeal. The forms are available here.