Prevention & Outreach

The Prevention & Outreach Division of the Behavioral Health Department combines universal, selective, and indicated prevention, and early intervention strategies, along with targeted outreach and treatment for difficult-to-serve, and underserved populations. Several of the programs within the Division are part of the County's Mental Health Services Act plan.

Prevention & Outreach Mission Statement and Program Standards

San Luis Obispo County’s Behavioral Health Prevention and Outreach services provide a framework for collaborative county-wide prevention of substance abuse and its related problems, and the promotion of mental wellness and health.

The mission is achieved by engaging individuals, families, neighborhoods, and communities to promote safe and healthy environments through the following strategies:

  •             Information dissemination and media advocacy
  •             Education and skill building
  •             Alternative activities
  •             Problem identification, referral, and clinical care
  •             Community based processes
  •             Environmental and policy development
  •             Increased access to care
  •             Consumer and family driven services

County Programs include:

Friday Night Live (FNL)
FNL is a school-based universal prevention program at every public high school and middle school in SLO County, as well as Cal Poly. All FNL programs provide participants with a safe environment, opportunities for involvement and connection with community and schools, leadership and advocacy, skill building, and caring and meaningful relationships with youth and adults. Visit the SLO Friday Night Live Partnership (non-profit) web site!

School Site Prevention & Early Intervention Counseling
Prevention & Outreach provides selected prevention counseling for students in middle and high school exhibiting risk indicators consistent with children of addiction. Counselors work directly with at-risk youth through student support groups, individual counseling, classroom presentations, parenting programs and assessments and referrals.


Youth and Family Substance Use Early Intervention and Treatment

A school and outpatient facility-based drug and alcohol treatment program designed for youth ages 12-18 and their families. In the Youth and Family Program, families can participate in 4 to 6 hours of treatment per week which includes group counseling, family counseling, drug education, parenting education, and multi-family sessions. Evening hours are available. Please call for an assessment appointment.
Other youth substance use treatment programs include:

  • Juvenile Drug Court
  • School Based Outpatient Treatment

Opioid Safety Coalition
The SLO Opioid Safety Coalition was established in January 2016 to reduce prescription drug misuse and abuse.

Veteran’s Outreach & Veteran’s Treatment Court
Veteran’s Outreach is program designed to increase access to mental health services for veterans and other individuals at high-risk for mental health issues such as amputees, disabled persons, chronically ill persons, and TAY.  The Veteran’s Treatment Court assists veterans who have entered the criminal justice system with receiving treatment and rehabilitation from the US Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs (VA.)

Community Partner Programs include:


College Prevention & Wellness

A new program funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) to increase on-campus exposure to mental health and wellness promotion through training and activities at both Cal Poly and Cuesta College.

Community Counseling

Local Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds support community counseling providers who offer low or no cost, brief, low-intensity group and individual counseling to adults, who are uninsured or under-insured.

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment for Adolescents

This program, funded by the County's Mental Health Services Act work plan, was developed to serve adolescents and young adults (age 15-21) experiencing significant mental health and substance-related problems at the same time.

Customer Awareness Response Effort (CARE)- Not for Ourselves Alone

The “Not for Ourselves Alone” Customer Awareness Response Effort (CARE)  Innovation Program funded by Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds, provides trauma-informed care training across public agencies and programs in the County of San Luis Obispo. The training program offers knowledge, principles and tools to better help customer-service facing staff serve community members experiencing trauma, chronic stress, or mental illness.


Drug Free Communities 101

This federal grant is aimed at providing Cal Poly and Cuesta College campuses and their surrounding communities with prevention strategies to address underage drinking – specifically for youth transitioning from high school to college - and reduce prescription drug misuse and abuse.

Friday Night Live/Club Live/Cal Poly FNL

Friday Night Live (FNL) programs were established in California in 1984, and in San Luis Obispo County in 1991. Using recognized best practices, FNL builds partnerships for positive and healthy youth development which engage youth as active leaders and resources in their communities.

The Behavioral Health Department partners with the Friday Night Live Partnership of San Luis Obispo County - a non-profit 501 (c)3 organization which supports programming.

For more information, please call us at (805) 781-4289.

Mental Health Services Act (MHSA)

The Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) provides funding to counties to expand and develop innovative, integrated services for children,adolescents, adults and older adults. California's voters passed the Act in November 2004 as a result of a movement intended to transform public mental health care. This page is designed to provide information on the County of SLO's work plans, and invite you to participate in their implementation.

Middle School Comprehensive Program

The Middle School Comprehensive project is an integrated collaboration between the Behavioral Health Department, schools, and community based organizations. This program aims to promote emotional wellness and identify students that may be in need of helping services.

Older Adult Mental Health Project

With the support of Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding, Wilshire Community Service, Inc. provides multi-level services for seniors at risk for mental illness.

Opioid Safety Coalition

The County formed the SLO Opioid Safety Coalition in January 2016 to address the local epidemic of opioid (painkiller medication and heroin) misuse with grant funding from the California HealthCare Foundation. The Department received one of 12 grants from the California HealthCare Foundation to help address the opioid epidemic locally.


Opioid Safety Coalition

The Behavioral Health Department received one of 12 grants from the California HealthCare Foundation to help address the misuse of prescription painkillers locally.

Parent Education and Support Programs

With the support of Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding, the Center for Family Strengthening provides coordination of parenting resources, parent education classes, and parent coaching services.
This includes provision of bilingual and bicultural parenting classes.

Positive Development Program

With the support of Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding, the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO) provides side by side facilitation of a Pre-K life skills curricula and behavior assessment tools for private daycares and preschools throughout the county.


Residential Wellness Counseling Program

This Federally funded grant program is aimed at providing local college campuses with early intervention resources to address students at risk of or experiencing First Episode Psychosis (FEP).

Rural Community Youth & Family Outreach

Funded through local Preventive Health Grants, these programs provide outreach to youth and families in the rural regions of the county and focus on Latino students and families.

Student Support Counseling

The Behavioral Health Department's Prevention and Outreach division provides student support counseling services at schools throughout the County. Referrals into the program are made directly through the school. See the list of participating schools below for more information.

Successful Launch

With the support of Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding, Cuesta College provides high risk transitional aged youth (TAY) with supportive life-skill services intended to facilitate self-sufficiency and independent living - critical to successful early adulthood.

Veterans Outreach Program

The Veteran’s Outreach Program provides increased outreach and access to mental health services for veterans, by providing rehabilitative activities and counseling services. The County hosts various physical, rehabilitative activities for veterans and their families throughout the year in various locations.

These activities, including hiking, kayaking, and horseback riding, are safe, culturally appropriate, prosocial opportunities for the Department's Veterans Services Therapist to engage veterans – who are unlikely to seek mental health care through clinic settings.

The Veterans Outreach Program is part of the Mental Health Services Act plan, and provided by the Behavioral Health Department. For more information on Veterans services and benefits, please visit the County's Veterans Services Office page.

Veterans Treatment Services

The Behavioral Health Department's Veterans Mental Health Therapist provides individual and group therapy services for veterans and their family members. The therapist is housed at the Veterans Service Office in San Luis Obispo, a culturally competent environment for veterans and their families to seek support and engage in behavioral health services, and also offers services to participants of Veterans Treatment Court.

Services may include:

  • Screening, Assessment and Treatment Recommendations
  • Treatment Planning
  • Individual and Group Psychotherapy
  • Access to Psychiatry and Medication services
  • Resource and referral to Veterans benefits services

Please call (805) 748-2403 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

The Veterans Treatment Program is part of the Mental Health Services Act plan, and provided by the Behavioral Health Department. For more information on Veterans services and benefits, please visit the County's Veterans Services Office page.

Wellness Advocates

Transitions Mental Health Association (TMHA) provides advocates to link people referred from PEI projects in need of social supports and basic needs

Young Adult Counseling

This Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funded prevention and early intervention program provides free counseling and early identification of mental health issues for transitional aged youth (16-25) who do not have access to counseling or therapy.

For more information, please call the Young Adult Counseling program at (805) 781-4290.

Youth & Family Substance Use Treatment

A full array of outpatient treatment services, including those that require family involvement, such as group counseling, family counseling, multi-family groups, and individual youth counseling for adolescents with substance use disorders (SUD).

Services include:

  • Case Management
  • Drug Testing
  • Psychotherapy
  • Screening and Assessment
  • Treatment Planning
  • Walk-In Clinics (see this page for locations and times)

Other programs include:

Please contact our access line at 1 (800) 838-1381 for information or to schedule an appointment. All services are available in Spanish.