San Francisco VA Health Care System
If you qualify for VA health care, you can get high-quality mental health services as part of your benefits. You may also be able to get care for certain mental health problems even if you don't have VA health care.
About the Program
The Mental Health Service at the San Francisco VA Medical Center provides consultation, evaluation, and treatment for a variety of issues that can impact emotional well-being. We conduct research and training to ensure state-of-the-art treatment.
The staff work closely together to develop a treatment plan which meets the specific needs of each Veteran we see. To make access to mental health care more convenient to Veterans, our mental health specialists are also located at VA community clinics in Downtown San Francisco, San Bruno, Santa Rosa, Ukiah, Clearlake, and Eureka.
How to Initiate Mental Health Services
Urgent Services: Veterans are seen for same-day urgent mental health appointments in Psychiatric Evaluation Services in Bldg. 200, Ground Floor, located in the Emergency Department. (Open 24/7 for urgent or emergency psychiatric concerns, such as experiencing suicidal thoughts, acute intoxication/withdrawal, or acute psychosis.)
Same Day Walk-in Mental Health Clinic: Open Monday - Friday, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Located in Bldg. 203, Ground Floor, Room GA-28. Go to the Mental Health Access Center front desk and let them know you would like to be seen in the same-day clinic. This clinic will see Veterans who are having issues with stress, anger, depression, alcohol, or drugs, and interested in talking with someone; or are transferring their care from a different medical center and need a refill of a psychiatric medication; or need to establish outpatient mental health care at SFVAMC and want to speak with someone about it; or are interested in learning about mental health resources provided at SFVAMC.
Access Center for General Outpatient Services: Veterans can be referred by their primary medical providers for general outpatient mental health services. Veterans are then seen at the Mental Health Access Center (Bldg 203, Ground Floor, Room GA-28) for an intake appointment.
Outpatient Mental Health services provided at the San Francisco VA Medical Center include:
Addiction Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS): This program offers treatment for Veterans who have found their use of alcohol or drugs has caused them significant distress or impairment with negative effects on family, personal relationships, health or work. Our treatment services are structured to care for people through all stages of recovery. Some of our specialized programs include:
- Transition Program
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
- Drug and Alcohol Treatment Clinic (DATC)
- Opioid Treatment Program (OTP)
- Prescription Opioid Safety Team (POST)/ Addiction Consult (AddCon)
- Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND)
- Substance Use Posttraumatic Stress Team (SUPT)
- Addiction Research Program
General Psychiatry Outpatient Services (GPOS): We offer comprehensive services for the full range of emotional problems people can experience. In addition to individual, group, medication and family treatment approaches.
Geriatric Mental Health Services: The Geriatric Mental Health section consists of a team of clinicians providing care for veterans over the age of 65. Clinical services provided to veterans include specialized geriatric outpatient mental health clinics, mental healthcare support and outreach to home bound veterans, hospice and palliative care mental health, and support for veterans with memory care needs.
HIV Mental Health Program: Veterans who are HIV-positive have access to a full range of psychiatric and behavioral health services, including medication management, individual and group therapy, and brief cognitive assessment. These services are integrated in the Infectious Diseases (ID) Clinic and you can be referred directly by your ID Clinic provider.
Mental Health Intensive Case Management (MHICM): The mission of the MHICM program is to provide Veterans with serious mental illness (SMI) with intensive, recovery-oriented mental health services that enable them to both live meaningful lives and reside in the community of their choosing. Services should assist Veterans in defining and pursuing a personal mission and vision based on their identified strengths and self-chosen values, interests, personal roles and goals. MHICM services fully embrace and incorporate core principals of psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery in all interactions, interventions and program development. The MHICM Team provides individualized, intensive case management to Veterans in the community via frequent home visits, symptom and medication monitoring, crisis intervention, as well as collaborating with family and community-based agencies. The goals of the program are to enhance wellness, recovery and independence; enhance the effective utilization of both VA and community resources; provide direct treatment to Veterans; respond to or prevent crisis situations threatening the stability of Veterans living in the community; and to minimize unnecessary utilization of institutional levels of care. For more information, please call 415-281-5139.
Military Sexual Trauma: Veterans, both women and men, have experienced sexual trauma while they served on active military duty. While some of these Veterans sought counseling and treatment for the aftereffects of the trauma, many have never discussed the incident or their medical or psychological condition with anyone. VA provides eligible Veterans with confidential counseling and treatment for the aftereffects of sexual trauma, helping them to better cope with the trauma experience, regain their confidence and self-esteem, and improve their quality of life.
Peer Support: Many of our programs include staff members who are Veterans with a personal history of mental health recovery. Click here to learn more about peer support.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinical Team (PCT): Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop after a person experiences or witnesses highly stressful and life threatening events. PTSD symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks and irritability. Our PTSD Program is a special program for veterans who have developed PTSD as a result of combat-related experiences or sexual abuse while in the military. Extensive treatment options include:
- Specialized group therapy
- Specific medication treatments
- Stress reduction training
- Family therapy
Psychological Services: The Neuropsychology and Psychological Assessment Program provides psychological assessment and neuropsychological evaluations. The Health Psychology Program offers services for people suffering from chronic medical conditions. Some of the services offered include:
- Health Psychology Program
- Pain Management
- Smoking Cessation
- Weight Control
- Stress Management
Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center: The San Francisco Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC) supports Veterans who have mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia, Major Depression, and Bipolar Disorder, in developing skills, support systems and wellness strategies to help improve their quality of life. Veterans participate in classes aimed at promoting community integration through effective symptom management, communication, and coping, as well as learning about computer and expressive arts skills. Click here to learn more about this program.
Women’s Mental Health Program: The Women's Mental Health Program consists of a team of clinicians providing services to female and transgender veterans, as well as eligible veterans’ spouses (through ChampVA and the Caregiver Program). Our clinic is located in an integrated setting, where we provide collaborative care with our Women’s Clinic medical team. Our services include specialized women’s mental health intake and assessment, women’s psychiatric medication management, all women’s group psychotherapy, and time-limited individual therapy. We focus on gender-specific mental health concerns, women’s trauma treatment, and needs of female patients who prefer to be seen in the Women’s Clinic setting. Examples of some of the issues we focus on include military sexual trauma (MST), domestic violence and childhood abuse; OEF/OIF women’s readjustment issues; pregnancy, post-partum care and parenting; LGBT issues with a focus on gender transition; as well as mood and anxiety disorders.
Mental Health services are confidential. We will not talk to anyone about information you share unless you give written consent. Under federal law, a few exceptions to this rule exist. If you have questions, please ask your Mental Health consultant.
Mental Health Research:
We are committed to developing the most effective treatments for emotional disorders. Our clinical research guides and improves the clinical services we offer by carefully examining the effectiveness of the treatments we believe are most promising. Veterans who participate in research studies advance knowledge and understanding, which helps to improve care for other veterans. Participants in research protocols may be reimbursed.
If you would like more information about the research studies in the Mental Health Service, please call one of the numbers below or visit our Research Study Subject Recruitment page.
Substance Abuse Research: (415) 750-2127
Smoking Cessation Research: (415) 221-4810 ext. 2-5437
Stress and Health Research Program (formerly PTSD Research Program): (415) 221 4810 ext. 2-5437 or visit the website.
National Center for PTSD *
National Institute of Mental Health*
Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center
Research Study Recruitment
(*Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs website.)
- Bldg. 8
Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.