About the Department of Behavioral Wellness

Founded in 1962, the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness promotes the prevention of, and recovery, from addiction and mental illness among individuals, families and communities, by providing effective leadership and delivering state- of-the-art, culturally competent services. 

What services are available?

An array of services is provided countywide for adults, children and transition-age youth.  The Department of Behavioral Wellness serves persons with mental health and/or alcohol and substance use conditions and individuals experiencing mental health crises. Services are provided on an inpatient, outpatient and crisis basis.  

Who provides services?

As of January 2018, Behavioral Wellness employed 432 persons.  Behavioral Wellness also contracts with a number of community-based alcohol, drug and mental health providers, as well as with individual practitioners called "network providers" to offer additional services countywide.

How are services accessed?

There are three ways to access services:

(1) If an individual is experiencing a mental health crisis that places anyone in immediate danger, call 911.

(2) If an individual is experiencing a mental health crisis that does not involve immediate danger, and if the person in crisis has insurance coverage through a health plan, call the health plan to get a referral to a covered mental health provider.

(3) For all others, call the Behavioral Wellness 24-Hour Toll Free Access Line at (888) 868-1649. The call is toll free, and someone will answer to assist you 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Whom does the Department of Behavioral Wellness serve?

During FY 2017-19 the Department of Behavioral Wellness served 9,600 mental health clients and 4,453 Alcohol and Drug Program clients. Clients include children experiencing serious emotional disorders, adults with severe mental illness, people experiencing psychiatric crises and individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions.