Integrated Behavioral Health Care

Sometimes, life brings challenges that may increase anxiety, depression, grief, stress or other issues. That's when you want help you can trust and access easily.

Depend on UC San Diego Health's integrated behavioral health program to learn practical coping skills to get your life back on track. You and your family can receive this high-quality, short-term therapy for a few weeks or months — at your convenience in person or by video.

True well-being goes beyond physical health. That's why we made behavioral health treatment available in your primary care doctor's office, so you don't have to search for a therapist elsewhere in the community.

What is Integrated Behavioral Health?

Integrated behavioral health care is a unique patient-centered model that seamlessly integrates mental health services into primary care.

Primary care and behavioral health providers work together to address both your physical and mental health concerns to provide comprehensive and cohesive care. That makes it convenient and acceptable for people to access behavioral health treatment in a familiar setting instead of going to a separate clinic.

Primary care addresses your medical needs, while counseling services extend beyond typical mental health concerns to other issues, such as sleep problems, weight loss and smoking cessation. The team-based approach aims to care for the whole person ― mind and body.

Who Is Eligible?

Our integrated behavioral health care services are open to people of all ages. But you must be a UC San Diego Health primary care patient to request a referral to the services.

How to Switch Your Care to UC San Diego Health

How to Get a Referral

You must have a referral from your primary care provider (PCP) to receive integrated behavioral health care. You can also request to speak briefly with a behavioral health provider during your next PCP visit to discuss if this service is a good fit for you.

Compassionate, Patient-Centered Services

Your behavioral health provider evaluates your concerns and crafts a personalized treatment plan for mild to moderate mental health and behavioral conditions.

  • Sessions: We offer one-on-one counseling sessions (individual, couple or family) and group sessions that can last a few weeks or months. You can choose either type of session or a combination of the two.
  • Interpreter and language services: We offer services in other languages using an interpreter. Some of our providers speak Spanish.
  • Collaboration and coordination: We share notes and relevant information with your primary care provider. You get the benefit of teamwork, better coordination and communication, all working toward one set of overall health goals for you.
  • Follow-up help: You can also get follow-up support if needed.
  • Long-term treatment: If you are experiencing severe symptoms, have multiple concerns or need specialized treatment or long-term therapy, we can recommend other options or refer you to our world-class specialists.

Behavioral Therapy Sessions

After your referral is approved, you'll get more information about the process and schedule from our patient navigator. Here are your options:

Individual, Couple or Family Therapy (In Person or Virtual)

You can get up to 12 one-on-one counseling sessions — individual, couple or family — tailored to your specific needs. These sessions can last a few weeks or months. For your convenience, these sessions can be in person at your PCP's office or virtually via MyUCSDChart or Zoom video.

Group Therapy (Virtual)

Another option is group therapy, where you can both receive and offer support to others navigating similar challenges. This service is available in addition to the 12 one-on-one counseling sessions.

All groups meet virtually over Zoom:

  • The Stress Management Group aims to increase your ability to cope with negative emotions in healthy ways, learn to regulate emotions and improve interpersonal communication.
    • 8 sessions (90 minutes each); meets every week
  • The Better Sleep Group centers on improving your sleep quality by using cognitive behavioral therapy strategies for insomnia.
    • 5 sessions (90 minutes each); meets every other week
  • The Coping With Loss and Grief Group can help you manage the process and stages of grief and promote healing.
    • 7 sessions (90 minutes each); meets every week
  • The Cultivating Healthy Relationships Group focuses on strategies to cultivate and maintain positive relationships to help you deal with conflicted feelings, social anxiety, isolation and loneliness.
    • 7 sessions (90 minutes each); meets every week
  • The Caring for Caregivers Group provides techniques that help you improve your own well-being while improving caregiving for your dependents with Parkinson's disease, dementia or other debilitating chronic illnesses.
    • 7 sessions (90 minutes each); meets every other week

Conditions We Treat

We work closely with you and your PCP to address your combined physical and behavioral health concerns, including:

  • Anxiety, anger, irritability, mood changes or stress
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression/having the blues
  • Family or relationship problems
  • Grief, loss or trauma
  • Health behavior changes
  • Life transitions, including mild to moderate adjustment disorder
  • Medication management
  • Mild alcohol and substance use
  • Sleep issues or insomnia
  • Smoking and tobacco cessation

Insurance and Costs

Most insurance plans typically cover integrated behavioral health sessions. Please remember that you must have your PCP’s referral for this service.

Your co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses depend on your plan, so check with your insurer. 

View insurance accepted at UC San Diego Health.