Mental Health-Related Volunteer Work in San Diego

Get Up and participate! There are many ways to get involved. Listed below are a few local San Diego organizations that welcome volunteers.

  • HHSA Behavioral Health Services Volunteer Contact Information: Frances Schaad (619) 596-6356

  • County of San Diego Aging and Independence Services Volunteer Contact Information: Lourdes Ramirez (858) 495-5360

  • San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council: The San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council provides oversight, guidance and support in the implementation of the recommendations made in the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Action Plan (PDF). The San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council’s role is to lead the charge to make suicide prevention a priority in our county. There are many opportunities for broad-based involvement in identifying, developing and monitoring of the local Action Plan. Volunteer Contact Information: Lora Cayanan

  • Mental Health America:  The San Diego chapter of the national organization, Mental Health America of San Diego, is dedicated to promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders and achieving victory over mental illnesses through advocacy, education, research and service. Contact Mental Health America to find out about volunteer opportunities. Volunteer Contact Information: (619) 543-2600

  • Mental Health Systems Inc: The Mental Health Systems’ mission is to improve lives and instill hope by using new and creative treatment strategies, while respecting time-proven methods of intervention. MHS programs include vocational placement, homeless outreach, case management, employment readiness, mental health court, dual diagnosis treatment and community outpatient clinics. Opportunities include coordinating events, resource development, customer service, general office support, fundraising and giving campaigns, information technology, research and work on special projects. All volunteer candidates are asked to successfully complete a series of pre-screening requirements, including a background check. Volunteer Contact Information: (858) 573-2600

  • NAMI San Diego:  NAMI San Diego is the local branch of a non-profit, national organization founded by family members of people with mental illness with the mission to support, educate and advocate for people with mental illnesses and their families. In Volunteering with NAMI San Diego you will learn invaluable skills, develop friendships, receive support, assist with breaking the stigma and changing the way the world views mental illness, and join a community that feels like family. Opportunities exist to support many of their programs and services such as: a Helpline, support groups, educational meetings, newsletters, a lending library, an annual walk, and a number of classes on mental illness. Please contact NAMI San Diego about your interest in volunteering and find out more about the next scheduled orientation. Volunteer Contact Information:

  • NAMI Stigma Busters NAMI StigmaBusters are dedicated to the elimination of ignorance, prejudice and discrimination against people with mental illnesses — by changing public attitudes from fear, rejection and isolation to community understanding, acceptance and support. Visit their website to receive regular “Stigma Alerts” and get involved by contacting local news media, legislatures, business and professional leaders, neighbors and social acquaintances with information that improves their understanding of mental illness. Members have access to letter templates to either protest stigma perpetuated in the local news and entertainment media, protest offensive advertising and praise accurate media representation. Volunteer Contact Information:

  • North County Lifeline: North County Lifeline’s purpose as a community-based organization is to identify gaps in self-reliance and respond with solutions for low-income and high-need residents. Therefore, the primary goal is to support community members in North San Diego County who are working towards breaking cycles of poverty and becoming self-reliant. Volunteer Contact Information: (760) 842-6254

  • San Diego Youth Services (SDYS):  A nationally recognized, comprehensive non-profit organization that has helped stabilize the lives of more than a half-million young people and their families since 1970. It works to fight the tragedies of homeless youth and youth in crisis. A large number of volunteer opportunities are available, including, but not limited to: working with adopted youth, mentoring, outreach to homeless youth, volunteering at teen homeless shelters, administrative and donor development, and special projects. Volunteer Contact Information: Liz Veselich (619) 221-8600 x1272

  • Serving Seniors: Serving Seniors provides nutrition, social and medical services, advocacy, homeless outreach, housing assistance and intergenerational activities for seniors, ages sixty and over. It also offers skill-based activities for seniors and is always looking for volunteers to assist in leading fun activities. Volunteer Contact Information: Tim Ruis (619) 487-0727

  • Casa de Amparo:  Established in 1978, Casa de Amparo (Home of Protection) is recognized as a leader in treating and preventing child abuse and neglect in San Diego County and beyond, with locations in Oceanside and San Marcos. The non-profit organization provides programs and services that promote healing, growth, and healthy relationships. These programs include: Residential Services, Counseling Services, Family Visitation, Hayward Child Development Center, New Directions and Young Parent Network. Casa de Amparo is the San Diego Chargers Courage House, part of a national network of NFL teams and local charities dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. A variety of volunteer positions are available. Volunteer Contact Information: Celeste Lampro (760) 566-3553

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