Treatment and Recovery

Though there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for mental illness, recovery is possible and help is available. Options vary depending on the type and severity of the disorder, and the individual involved. That's why it's important to get a professional diagnosis and treatment plan.

People with more severe disorders such as schizophrenia can experience measurable improvement in their quality of life. Those facing more common illnesses such as depression or panic attacks can benefit dramatically from treatment. View personal stories of treatment and recovery, and learn more about mental illness.

While not always necessary, medication can be highly effective in treating illnesses, including bipolar disorder, depression, panic disorder and schizophrenia. After evaluating the individual, a doctor will advise about pertinent drug options or combinations that will work best for each person's symptoms.

Individual, group or family counseling, therapy, and training can also be effective either alone or in conjunction with medication. Sometimes creative holistic therapies involving music, art, horticulture or drama can prove helpful.

Support groups are very helpful, providing opportunities to learn health enhancing techniques and share with others who are also experiencing the same mental health challenges.

Programs are also available for the treatment of mental illness and substance abuse in tandem – or co-occurring. Co-occuring disorders can often become a cyclical problem with one influencing the other. Specific programs are designed to help break the cycle and aid in recovery.

Whether you are experiencing a mental health challenge yourself, or seeking to help someone you care about, the first step is recognizing and accepting the need for some form of treatment. Getting help for mental illness is just as important as seeking treatment for diabetes or a heart condition. Speak up, and get on the road to recovery.


If you or someone you care about needs to speak to someone or is in crisis and needs immediate help, please call the Access & Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. Trained and experienced counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you. You don't have to suffer in silence, make the FREE call. If emergency medical care is needed,
call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

Now's the time to read up! With one in four adult San Diegans facing mental health challenges, it’s up to us to make San Diego a supportive community for those experiencing such challenges. Through education and awareness, the "It's Up to Us" bulletin offers mental health related information, resources, ways to get involved and also stay informed.