If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, please call (510) 948-0075 for crisis services without law enforcement. If it is a life-threatening emergency, call 911. Read about all mental health crisis services in Berkeley.
Mental health crisis services are generally available to all people in Berkeley and do not require insurance or payment. Crisis services include one with no police involvement or those accessed through 911.
Crisis Service with no police involvement
If you or someone you know is undergoing a mental-health or substance-use related crisis and needs assistance, call (510) 948-0075 to reach the Specialized Care Unit. The Specialized Care Unit (SCU) is available from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm, 7 days a week, and is a partnership program between the City of Berkeley and Bonita House, Inc. The SCU is available to all Berkeley community members.
When you call this number, Specialized Care Unit staff will ask you basic information and to describe the crisis you are calling about. They will also ask about the person’s history, including current and past behavior and medications. If the call is appropriate for the SCU, they will dispatch staff in a crisis van to the location you specify in Berkeley. This could be a public or private location.
Note that staff on this phone line may still refer you to other resources if the situation is beyond the team’s capacity. The SCU is not an alternative to all calls for Fire and Police services.
Examples of symptoms of behavioral crises related in adults and minors the team can respond to:
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- Substance use concerns
- Unable to calm down (anxiety)
- Dramatic mood changes
Getting Care After
After the on-site assessment and any initial help, staff may offer further options or resources. The person can opt to accept or refuse further services. If the person accepts, recommended services can include connections to resources or transport to the place of their own choosing, such as a recommended treatment center, post-crisis counseling, housing navigation, or other applicable resource.
If the person refuses further recommendations, the team will end the service. But if staff observes behavior that puts the person in danger (walking into traffic, continually falling, etc.), they will call 911.
If you have questions about the SCU program, please email HHCS@berkeleyca.gov.
Calls to 911 can also lead to trained support
When you call 911 for a life-threatening emergency, you can ask the public safety dispatcher for mental health support, which may come in the form of our Mental Health Division’s Mobile Crisis Unit. Such calls might include, but are not limited to, threats and attempts to suicide and situations where there is a mental health need after a crisis in the community.
The mobile crisis team can also get dispatched through the non-emergency dispatch line, (510) 981-5900. These less urgent calls may include, but are not limited to, an evaluation for a psychiatric hospitalization and mental health support after a death.
All mobile crisis team calls may also be accompanied by firefighter-paramedics or police officers, who will ensure safety at the scene while allowing the mobile crisis team to assist. The mobile crisis team is available from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm, 5 days a week, Sunday and Monday as well as Wednesday through Friday. The number of calls or staffing may affect mobile crisis team availability.
After hours or when mobile crisis is unavailable, 911 dispatch response would come from firefighter-paramedics or police officers, who, in Berkeley, have extensive experience in helping people through mental health and substance abuse crises and regularly use de-escalation and crisis intervention strategies.
You can leave a message for mobile crisis to request a mental health consultation or get information about their services by calling (510) 981-5254.
Learn more about the full breadth of mental and behavioral health services in Berkeley.