Berkeley, California Therapists
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Overview of Mental Health Resources in Berkeley, California
Berkeley, California is part of the San Francisco Bay area which is located in Alameda County CA. The city of Oakland borders Berkeley to the South, and it’s home to the University of California, Berkeley. The university is the oldest campus in the University of California system. Berkeley is known not only for the university but also for being one of the most socially progressive cities in the U.S.
The top employer in the city is the University. Other top employers include the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Alta Bates Summit Medical Health, Bayer, and Kaiser Permanente. Points of interest in Berkeley include the Berkeley Marina, the Berkeley Rose Garden, and People’s Park, which was a big part of the 1960s counterculture movement. Annual events include the Jewish Music Festival, the Berkeley Arts Festival, and the Berkeley Kite Festival.
The city of Berkeley has long struggled to deal with a significant homeless population. Since the 1930s, Berkeley has been seen as very politically active, but at the same time, there have been ordinances passed throughout history attempting to remove homeless people from the city. Despite these attempts, homelessness remains a pervasive issue. People’s Park is often considered one of the main safe spaces for homeless people living in the entire Bay Area.
One reason homelessness continues to be such a problem in the Bay Area is because of the soaring cost of living. Inflation has continued to rise over the past decade. The Bay Area is the most expensive part of the country to live in, and this leaves people facing anxiety and insecurity over being able to afford a home and other necessary items. In Alameda County where Berkley is located, the median value of owner-occupied housing was almost $600,000, and the median gross rent from 2012 to 2016 was $1,432. For Berkley specifically, these numbers are much higher. The median sales price in Berkley for a home is $1.2 million and the median rent per month is more than $4,050.
Research in recent years has shown that mental illness, suicide, and depression rates are soaring among college students, and that’s no exception for the students at UC Berkeley. There was one study that showed widespread depression among graduate students. Four out of 10 college students in a survey reported they were so depressed in the past year it left them unable to function.
From 1999 to 2011 the rate of severe mental illness hospitalizations remained steady according to the Alameda County Community Health Assessment. There were 11,347 hospitalizations related to mental health during this time. In Alameda County, Berkeley had the highest rate of hospitalizations related to mental health issues.
Suicide rates in California are increasing, although this is a national trend as well. Experts from the Bay Area released research a couple of years ago showing the suicide rate was at its highest level in almost three decades. Some of the factors cited as contributing to rising suicide rates in the Bay Area include wealth disparities, drug use, and the stigma that people feel is attached to asking for help.
Berkeley Mental Health Resources
While mental health is undoubtedly an area of concern in Berkeley and Alameda County, there are resources available. Some examples include the Berkeley Mental Health Division which operates an Adult Services Program and a Family, Youth, and Children’s Services Program. There are also organizations like the Coalition for Alternatives in Mental Health and the East Bay Community Recovery Project.
The East Bay Community Recovery Project offers counseling, support groups, education, and referrals.
The Low-Fee Referral Network connects people in the community with low-fee counseling and psychotherapy referral services.
There are crisis intervention organizations like the Alameda County Medical Center and the Crisis Support Services of Alameda County.
There are specific support services and groups that focus on unique needs. For example, there is the Asian Community Mental Health Services organization, the Berkeley Bi-Polar Support Group, and La Clinica de La Raza Casa del Sol which works with Spanish-speaking, uninsured residents.