The two largest dispensers of mental health services in San Diego are the UCSD Department of Psychiatry and the County's Community Mental Health Services. They operate with both the assets and liabilities of their size, complexity. and money. On the positive side, they offer 24-hour availability and flexibility of services. But they're also hierarchical and hence sometimes impersonal «z>r confusing.
A recent addition to the University Hospital Emergency Room (225 Dickinson, San Diego, 294-6222) is the full time presence of a psychiatrist whom you can ask to see. You won't be turned away at the door for lack of funds, though inpatient hospitalization there, with rare exceptions, does require insurance. MediCal, or inordinate prosperity. If you go there seeking help, be prepared for the eclectic vibes of a city Emerge icy Room, and the paperwork, and the waiting. Nevertheless, you're likely to see a young, tuned-in shrink with good social service back-up and knowledge of resources.
The University's psychiatric gem is their Clinic at Fifth and University. Although it doesn't offer true emergency services, a daytime call to 297-2903 will put you in touch with someone who can set up an initial evaluation with 24 hours or less if need be. Or you will be seen briefly, right off the street, if you show up between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The Clinic is deep in good personnel and fees are adjusted. Most people think it's a good place: not everybody.
One little-known service they offer is psychopharmacologic consultation to non-medically trained therapists anywhere in San Diego. That means you can be seen at the Clinic, and your regular therapist can be in touch with a shrink there to discuss the possibility of medication as an adjunct to your regular treatment.
The University has yet another appendage: the Department of Psychiatry at the VA Hospital, 3350 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Any veteran can go requesting psychiatric evaluation, week-days, usually during working hours. However, there's also someone there for immediate consultation at any time, day or night. Now, the VA might not be our most horrendous bureaucracy, but few will deny that it's in the running. A local hip psychiatrist thinks the VA system could push the mellowest of long-haired shrinks into the other camp. That's not true, and you'll be heard if you go, but you will notice the bureaucracy.
THE COUNTY The center of San Diego County ’s Mental Health Services is at 345
Dickinson, San Diego (right next door to University Hospital). 291-7550. There's a 24-hour screening clinic with surprisingly little inconvenience in getting to see either a psychiatrist or psychiatric social worker. Compared to what other cities offer, it's pretty good and pretty human. The complex also houses a large out-patient department and a full-scale psychiatric hospital to serve the county. Satellite clinics are:
220 South First Street F.I Cajon 440-0521
Kearny Mesa Douglas Young Clinic 7910 First Street San Diego 278-6710
In addition to these several mental health services, the University and County provide specific services for drug problems. The UCSD Medical School's Department of Psychiatry runs the Narcotic Treatment Program, headquartered at 13th and Market. Call Paul Moore at 239-3018 to find out how to get into the program. Also, there's a hot line, 239-0193, with access to 24-hour physician back-up. The program offers prolonged narcotics de-toxification and rehabilitation facilities at Deer Park in Escondido and multiple out-patient tracks — no fun including methadone maintenance, abstinence, and groups at several San Diego locations. Out-patient de-toxification, until now hard to come by, should be available by the time this reaches print. The Narcotic Treatment Program helps barb as well as heroin addicts, using contracts with hospitals for de-tqx prior to transfer to Deer Park.
DEFY (Drug Education for Youth) is a County facility geared primarily to educate, but with flexibility to help out troubled kids. The hot line is open 24 hours: for San Diego, 297-3339, for North County, 722-3339, or ZENITH 3339. Walk-in counseling at 3067 Fifth Avenue. San Diego, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; in Oceanside at 516 Fourth Street, Monday through Friday. 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. □
(Dr. Donald Kripke. after completing his psychiatric residency at the Veterans Administration Hospital. La Jolla, opened up private practice. He is also on the faculty at UCSD's School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry.)
620 East Valley Parkway, Escondido 745-4200
516 East Cassidy Street. Oceanside 722-1293
Southeast San Diego 4235 National Avenue San Diego 262-0841
279 Fourth Avenue
Chula Vista 427-4661