Psychiatry and Behavioral Health
Our mission of caring, healing, teaching and serving all includes caring for your mental and emotional well-being. If you or a loved one is struggling to cope with daily life, we’re here for you. If you need help recovering from drug and alcohol abuse, we can help. At AHS, you will find caring experts to give you the tools you need.
The Psychiatry Department at Alameda Health System, under the direction of Psychiatry Chair (interim), Tanuj Siddhartha, MD and John George Psychiatric Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Patty Espeseth, LMFT, encompasses a complete continuum of mental health care within the medical center system of care. The department conducts clinical, consultation, educational and research activities at all of the Alameda Health System four hospitals, three rehabilitation facilities, four primary care clinics and four emergency departments. The department’s mission is to provide the best comprehensive, culturally sensitive and trauma informed psychiatric and behavioral health services for adults and children suffering with mental illness in Alameda County regardless of their ability to pay and be the premier center for mental health care in the East Bay.
There are several inpatient and outpatient programs that make up the department: 24 hour Walk-in Urgent/Crisis Service at John George Hospital, Psychiatric Emergency Services, John George Psychiatric Hospital Inpatient Services, Forensic Psychiatry, Medical/Psychiatric Services, Adult and Child Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison Service, the Outpatient Behavioral Health Services Programs, Integrated Behavioral Health Services at Ambulatory Primary Care Wellness Centers, Residency (planned) , Internship and Fellowship Training and Research in Psychiatry.
Our goal is to compassionately treat people suffering with mental illness as well as promote recovery, well-being and resilience. The department also has the goal to integrate behavioral health services with all primary care and department of medicine sites throughout the health system hospitals and clinics. The department has over 450 staff including 20 full-time and 30 part-time psychiatrists as well as 8 full-time and 6 part-time psychologists. 20 community psychologists serve as volunteer clinical faculty members for the psychology training program.
John George Psychiatric Hospital (JGPH), located in San Leandro, California and administered by the department of psychiatry, is part of Alameda Health System (AHS), a major public health care provider recognized as a world-class patient and family centered system of care and affiliated with the UCSF School of Medicine. JGPH provides psychiatric emergency and acute care services to adults experiencing severe and disabling mental illnesses and treats all who seek care regardless of their economic or social status.
JGPH uses a multi-disciplinary team approach to diagnose and treat patients with acute psychiatric illnesses. The hospital is a leader in the use of evidence-based medicine and data analytics to formulate effective care decisions. The treatment and management of psychiatric care at JGPH is nationally recognized as a best practice and is a model for other programs across the country.
Acute Inpatient Psychiatric Services
JGPH houses several inpatient units for both involuntary and voluntary patients who have an acute psychiatric illness. Treatments include medication, psychotherapy, milieu therapy, group therapy, occupational therapy and activity therapy. Other services include the Peer Mentor Program, chaplain services, pet therapy and community recovery support. All patients are referred to the appropriate level of care upon discharge.
Psychiatric Emergency Services
Psychiatric Emergency Services provides psychiatric evaluation, intervention and referral for voluntary and involuntary patients around the clock every day of the week. You can go to John George for walk-in, in-person support if you are in immediate crisis. Crisis intervention and urgent medication assessments are provided by qualified, multidisciplinary teams of mental health professionals.
JGPH psychiatrists provide 5150 (psychiatric hold) clearance, medication evaluation/consultation and referral to appropriate mental health agencies on the Highland and Fairmont campuses, system rehabilitation facilities, system emergency departments at Highland, Alameda and San Leandro Hospitals as well as at the Alameda Health System Primary Care Wellness Centers.
Outpatient Behavioral Health Services
The psychiatry department oversees the Outpatient Behavioral Health Services that are located at Highland Hospital Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic, B Wing second floor and Fairmont Hospital Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic, C Building second floor. These programs encompass partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient day treatment services as well as outpatient clinic services. Medication monitoring, evaluation and consultation are provided by staff psychiatrists.
Integrated Behavioral Health Services at Ambulatory Primary Care Wellness Centers at Highland, Eastmont, Hayward and Newark also provides outpatient behavioral health services and operates a psychology counseling clinic at Highland Hospital. Evaluations, assessments, short-term group and individual therapy and referrals are provided for primary and specialty care referrals.
Services are provided for a wide range of mental illnesses, eg, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, anxiety, personality disorders, PTSD and trauma, ADHD and developmental disorders, substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, suicide, parenting/family/couples problems and mental health issues associated with medical illness and aging.
The program provides evidence-based treatment including individual, couples, group and family therapy as well as psychological assessment and medication evaluations for the underserved as well as special populations including racial, ethnic and sexual minorities. The goal of the program is to deliver the highest quality, culturally sensitive, trauma informed and compassionate family-centered care to all county residents.
Behavioral health services are also provided via the Integrated Behavioral Health Services at Ambulatory Primary Care Wellness Centers at Highland, Eastmont, Hayward and Newark. Here, social workers, psychologists and students provide evaluations, assessments, short-term counseling and referrals for patients referred from AHS primary and specialty care services.
Psychology services are provided at AHS in a number of departments – Psychiatry Inpatient and Outpatient Behavioral Health Services, Integrated Behavioral Health Services at Ambulatory primary care wellness centers, the Pain Clinic and Medical Staff Office to name a few. Psychologists provide counseling and assessment services at AHS as well as teaching and supervision of psychology students. The Psychology Service also operates a student run outpatient psychology clinic at Highland Hospital to provide counseling services for AHS patients.
The Psychology Service provides supervised clinical training experiences for psychology graduate students for the practicum level, pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship. Our psychology training program is a member of the Bay Area Practicum Information Collaborative (BAPIC) and approved by the California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC).
The Clinical Psychology Training Program, directed by Karen Wise, PsyD, follows the practitioner-scholar model and provides psychology practicum trainees, pre-doctoral interns and post-doctoral fellows with varied supervised clinical experiences with adults and children in outpatient, inpatient, rehabilitation and primary care departments at AHS with the goal to gain entry level to advanced competence in clinical psychology.
For more information on psychology training at AHS please see below for residencies, internships and fellowships.