Local News Matters weekly newsletter

Start your week with a little inspiration. Sign up for our informative, community-based newsletter, delivered on Mondays with news about the Bay Area.

San Joaquin County’s Behavioral Health Services, a government agency dedicated to helping individuals with mental health issues and needs, has a wide variety of services to assist people struggling with mental illness.

Hilary Crowley, special projects and communications manager for San Joaquin County Behavioral Health Services, said mental illness is indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any point in time.

“It impacts young and old, wealthy and poor, every gender, and all ethnicities and races,” Crowley said. “Millions of people in the U.S. are affected by mental illness.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nationwide one in five adults experience mental illness, one in 20 adults face serious mental illness and 17 percent of youth ages 6 to 17 experience a mental health disorder.

Behavioral Health Services offers a wide range of services that includes phone hotlines, texting lines as well as in-person services for individuals depending on their needs.

For people needing phone call assistance to help them de-stress, talk to a crisis representative or get help immediately, BHS is equipped with many call hotlines that are available 24 hours.

They offer a Consumer Support Warm-Line that is staffed with mental health outreach workers who give support and shared experiences of hope and recovery at 209-468-3583, a BHS 24-hour crisis line that is available seven days a week for people to call and get help if they feel they are a danger to themselves or others at 209-468-8686, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that provides free and confidential support to anyone that is suicidal or in emotional distress at 800-273-8255 and the Trevor Project which offers help to LGBTQ individuals 25 years and younger at 866-488-7366.

BHS also has a texting line for anyone who either may not want to talk on the phone or who can’t. All someone has to do is text the word “EMM” to 741741 to be connected to a representative and receive help.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, BHS continues to offer in-person support while following safety protocols at their Stockton, Tracy and Lodi locations.

“As the county progresses through less restrictive tiers, BHS is getting back to in-person, one-on-one and group meetings, within social distance protocols,” Crowley said.

While BHS only provides services to the county’s Medi-Cal-eligible and indigent population, they do offer an access line where people can speak to representatives that can help them find and locate services that they qualify to receive, which can be reached at 209-468-9370.