Mental Health Services Eligibility

Who We Serve

County-funded public mental health services are intended for persons who either have a mental illness and require mental health services in order to function in school, at home or in the community, or persons who are experiencing a mental health crisis (such as depression, suicidal thoughts, or extreme anxiety). 

By definition, clients eligible for the County's services are those that cannot be appropriately treated within a primary care environment, or by a primary care physician. Services are targeted for the Medi-Cal and uninsured population who meet the criteria for income of less than 200% of the federal poverty level. All services are rendered without regard to race, color, creed, or disability. 


San Diego County Mental Health Services may be provided to:

  • Persons with Medi-Cal,
  • Persons with low income, no income, and no health insurance. (For more information call the Access and Crisis Line at 1-888-724-7240.)

In addition to insurance and income criteria, the person needs to meet the "medical necessity criteria" described below:

  • A diagnosable mental illness or serious emotional disorder for children and adolescents;
  • Difficulty functioning in an important area of life-functioning, or the probability of significant deterioration in an important area of life, or for children and adolescents a probability that a child will not progress developmentally as individually appropriate;
  • The expectation is that the proposed treatment will significantly reduce the problem or prevent significant deterioration in an important area of life-functioning or allow a child to progress developmentally as individually appropriate;
  • A condition that would not be responsive to physical health care based treatment.

Voluntary or Involuntary

Individuals must be voluntary for most services including: Outpatient and Case Management Services, Day Treatment Services (children and adolescents only), and Crisis Residential Services.

Some services are provided even though an individual is not voluntary, but is currently a danger to themselves or others, or gravely disabled, which means they are unable to take care of basic needs such as clothing or shelter. Involuntary services include:

Emergency Services

Emergency services are provided to all who need them. Emergency services include: