On this page we have links to therapists and other clinicians, links to treatment programs, links to information about substance use, links to general health information, links to mental health information, links to information about depression and bipolar disorder, links to information about anxiety, lots of self-help information, and links to information about how to deal with insurance problems and how to get prescription medication savings.
This is a link to therapist colleagues who we think do remarkable work.
Jasmine Teleki: Dr. Teleki is a young psychologist of great integrity who we have worked closely with for years. She graduated from what we think is one of the best clinical training programs in the country for psychologists – the Palo Alto University / Stanford combined PsyD program.
Joanne Chan: Dr. Chan is a psychologist with particular expertise in helping those with anxiety, obsessive compulsive, and hoarding problems. She is also affiliated with Palo Alto University.
Alexandra Murallo: Dr. Murallo is a psychologist who works well with a number of people with complicated problems. She has a strong background in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and an interpersonal form of therapy called Functional Analytic Therapy.
Mental Health Treatment Programs
A wonderful colleague recommended a couple of treatment programs that she says have helped patients rebuild their lives.
Cooper Riis: This program describes itself as a healing community for individuals with mental illness or emotional distress that holistically addresses the mind, body and spirit for treatment, healing and recovery. The words either sound wonderful or a bit “new age.” But she says this is the real thing, a long-term program for people who need to rebuild their lives, which is focused on connecting with community and with the world around and includes participating in the running of a farm.
Gould Farm: This is the first program which, like Cooper Riis, is a residential therapeutic community dedicated to helping adults with mental health and related challenges move toward recovery, health and greater independence through community living, meaningful work, and clinical care.
Substance Use Referrals and Resources
Substance use issues are common enough in the people that we see that it makes sense to offer some resources on this page. As a first step – All Treatment is a web referral website that is trying to develop a comprehensive set of resources.
Another resource we recently came across is Addiction Center. It was founded by a recovering addict, Chris Carberg, and a few others with the goal of helping people find treatment in a variety of ways, fast. They noticed it’s very difficult for people to search for trustworthy treatment centers online, so they are working to develop an up-to-date information hub about various addictions, as well as a resource to match those in need with a treatment center. Right now, they a’re developing the most complete and advanced treatment center profiles on the web. Our profiles offer the information most people seeking treatment are looking for (cost, location, number of rooms, insurance, staff, amenities, activities, etc). You can check out some of our current profiles here if you’d like.
Addiction resources: Provides information regarding substance abuse and use disorders, treatment options and support available.
Alcorehab: Provides information specific to alcohol abuse and use disorder, treatment options, and support available.
What to Do If You Have a Problem with Drugs: I can only imagine that admitting you have a problem is one of the hardest things a person could ever face in his or her life. This resource can help people overcome that hurdle.
Perfectionism and Addiction: This author explores a possible link between perfectionism and addiction.
10 Reasons to Stay Sober: Recovery is a journey that never really ends. This inspiring piece is written by a young woman who knows firsthand how difficult this road can be — and encourages anyone who is struggling to keep going.
AASF: The AA website with the comprehensive meeting schedule for San Francisco and links to other Bay Area counties meetings. Very complete.
SFNA: The Narcotics Anonymous website for SF. Also a very complete meeting schedule
Women for Sobriety: We think this is really worth reading. Women for Sobriety is a peer support groups for women in substance abuse recovery. It is non-12-step oriented, but has a very empowering message.
Quitting Smoking: One kind of substance use that is especially common in people that we see is cigarette and tobacco smoking. This is a good starting place for information about quitting which can actually reduce anxiety and depression in the long run.
Mark I. Levy, MD, FAPA: Doctor Mark Levy, an expert in forensic psychiatry, has compiled an extensive set of resources on the topic. Topics include the standard of care for psychiatric practice, the Americans with Disabilities Act, employment discrimination and harassment, among others.
General Health Information
Medical Symptoms: This is a very useful general reference that talks about common medical symptoms and helps you to gather information that your doctor may want to know, and that also will allow you to determine when a problem is an emergency, and when getting help is less urgent.
Pill Minder and Information Resource: Medisafe is far and away the best app to help you track your medications, learn about them, make sure you are taking them safely. David Pogue reviewed 47 competitors and confirmed our view. Free and available for iPhone and Android.
Mental Health Information
General Mental Health Information
Mental Help Net: Home of the oldest and largest online mental health guide and community.
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill: A grassroots, self-help support and advocacy organization of families and friends of people with serious mental illness, and those persons themselves.
National Mental Health Association: This organization has a helpful list of organizations involved in providing support to those with mental health conditions, as well as for family members.
American Psychiatric Association: A medical society, recognized world-wide, whose 40,500 U.S. and international physicians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illnesses and substance use disorders.
Pubmed: The National Library of Medicine’s search service that provides access to over 11 million citations in MEDLINE, PreMEDLINE, and other related databases, with links to participating online journals.
Expert Consensus Guidelines: Guides for Patients and Families: This website has the most comprehensive and up to date guides for patients and families with a variety of psychiatric conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, various anxiety disorders, PTSD, etcetera. Some of them are even in Spanish.
Mind Body Pregnancy: Is a site established by a colleague of mine at UCSF, Dr. Anna Glezer, devoted to providing resources and information about the relationship between mental health and pregnancy.
Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Other Mood Disorders
MoodSurfing: This is a site devoted to living creatively with moods. Check it out, we think that you will like it.
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA): DBSA was formerly the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association (National DMDA.) DBSA publishes more than two dozen educational materials about living with mood disorders, all available free of charge.
Jim Phelps PsychEducation website is a wealth of information on bipolar disorder, especially the “softer” bipolar spectrum of cyclothymia and bipolar type 2. It includes absolutely free the entire text of his great book: “Why Am I Still Depressed?”.
Tom Wootton’s Bipolar Advantage is dedicated to the idea that there are benefits to the experience of mood swings and that an important part of coming to grips with a mood disorder is understanding those benefits. He is a thoughtful person who has learned a lot from his own experience. Several patients at Gateway have attended seminars he has put on and found them to be very informative as well as inspirational.
Dr. Ivan’s Depression Central: The Internet’s central clearinghouse for information on all types of depressive disorders and on the most effective treatments for individuals suffering from Major Depression, Manic-Depression (Bipolar Disorder), Cyclothymia, Dysthymia and other mood disorders.
Recover Life from Depression is a very personal but extremely useful blog devoted to cataloging resources that are helpful for anyone dealing with chronic depression.
McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Web: More than 250 articles on all aspects of depression and bipolar, plus news, FAQs, books, forums, and newsletter.
Anxiety and Panic and Mindfulness Meditation: This is a very useful and interesting site that talks about the use of mindfulness techniques (see below) to help people with anxiety disorders. Lots of information and links.
The Still Quiet Place: Amy Saltzman has created a website that is a wonderful resource for those interested in exploring mindfulness meditation. I particularly value the work that she has done bringing the concepts fo mindfulness to children. She has a great CD which I often recommend which has short meditation exercises that you can listen to with your children… or by yourself… they are that good.
Self Help Resources
Dieting and Fitness
American Heart Association Fitness Center: This site by the American Heart Association provides all the resources you need to keep physically fit. Tools available include an ‘Exercise Diary,’ ‘Fitness Resources,’ and ‘My Fitness’ that helps you learn what fitness type best describes your lifestyle and how to get the greatest benefit from physical activity in your life.
eDiets.com: The most extensive site we reviewed, eDiets, is flexible enough to fit just about anybody’s needs. You’ll find an avalanche of articles, questions and answers, and success stories. Members start by picking one of 16 diet plans, (we recommend the excellent eDiets plan) and an exercise regimen. You get weekly meal plans, recipes with shopping lists, and caloric breakdowns. eDiets also makes it easy to synchronize a partner with your diet plan. The exercise program has animations that show how to do exercises correctly. The community area is equally wide ranging. On top of chat rooms, scheduled online group meetings, and forums, there’s a buddy program called “circle of winners” that lets experienced members volunteer as mentors for newbies or for anyone who needs encouragement. Experts in a number of fields are available to answer members questions. Pricing is a bit complicated. One common scenario is to pay 5 dollars per week for a diet plan and then purchase fitness and recipe options, each costing an additional dollar a week.
Spark People: This is a site that a couple of our patients called to our attention. It is a well thought out application that is web based and works with your PC and with any smart phone so that you can keep track of food and exercise easily. But what really distinguishes it from other approaches is that it provides lot of support for change. Well thought out followup emails and messages. Awards. And a chance to join a group of folks like yourself who are trying to make changes. Try it.
Yoga Learning Center: Although you can find a lot of information about yoga on the web, the yoga learning center is the first online yoga studio. This site adds a spiritual element to physical health that’s refreshing to those who don’t care about washboard abs and counting carbs. The YLC has video and audio practices suited to people of all skill and fitness levels. A library of streaming audio and video content comes courtesy of yoga instructors. You can search by teacher, experience level, media type (audio, audio meditation, or video) and benefit, such as weight loss, back pain relief, or stress reduction. Sessions can be up to an hour long. The site also offers a handful of informative articles and a fledgling forum section. For $17.95 a month you have unlimited access to the site and all its contents. You won’t find dietary advice or log calendars, but compared to the cost of attending regular yoga classes or amassing a yoga DVD collection, the YLC’s approach is very reasonable.
Weight Watchers: Weight watchers online serves up simplicity and easy to achieve results in large portions. You can use this site as an accessory to weight watchers traditional meetings or as a standalone service. You won’t be isolated from peer support. When we dropped into a chat room, the fourteen visitors there were discussing how to make diet friendly tacos. The foundation of weight watchers is the point system. Every food has a given number of points, based on calories, fat, and fiber content. Depending on your age, weight, and height, weight watchers tells you how many points you should consume in a day. In addition, you get a number of flex points each week, for when you have to fudge (sometimes literally). You can also earn activity points with exercise to supplement your food points. Weight watchers online is easy to navigate, with practically no commercial clutter. The recipe and restaurant resources are useful, but there is no option for generating a weekly shopping list.
Foundations of Wellbeing is a remarkable course designed to teach you how you can change your approach to life so that you avoid the natural bias we all have to focus on the negative. Rick Hanson has put together a science based program that includes lectures, interviews, and interactive content. For more on this course you can read this blog post. Highly recommended.
FearFighter: A recent article in the British Journal of Psychiatry reported on excellent results using this telephone and email therapy resource for people suffering from panic, anxiety or phobias. It costs about 500$ for 13 weeks of treatment. This is certainly an excellent resource for those who can’t find good quality cognitive behaviorally based therapy for these common disorders.
The Mood Gym – Online Psychotherapy: Having tried internet and telephone therapy, we still think that in person is much better, but for those who can’t find a therapist nearby that is good, it might be worth trying. We have been through a bit of what is available at this website and we were impressed. If you are pretty motivated and you are looking for alternatives, try this. And let us know what you think.
Queendom – Online Psychotherapy: We don’t really know much about this resource. But we do know that the website that this link comes from is well regarded. If you do try it we would love your candid comments.
Relaxation and Meditation
Basics of “Ki”: This is a very elegant resource that outlines the basic principles of Aikido. Included are some remarkable video clips that demonstrate powerful relaxation and breathing techniques.
Learning Meditation: A very useful site for those interested in learning more about meditation tecniques.
Mindfulness Meditation Downloadable Instruction: This Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA has downloadable (and free) meditation guides of various lengths and in various formats.
Authentic Breathing Resources: This site provides a fair amount of free information on how breathing exercises can reduce anxiety. It also provides access to an excellent manual available for purchase.
Progressive Relaxation Program: This is an excellent resource for developing a program of Progressive Muscle Relaxation, which is the foundation of treatment for many anxiety disorders.
Loss and Grief
Answers for Those Dealing with Loss: Beyond Indigo: This is a remarkable internet site that deals in a comprehensive and compassionate way with all of the things that those who are dealing with loss. Beyond Indigo, is the web’s leading source of information on grief, grieving, death and dying. Beyond Indigo offers detailed and heartfelt support and well-managed information. It facilitates chat rooms and discussions on various topics.
Grief Therapy – Carol Kearns: This is a deeply personal and moving website about grief and the process of recovery from one of the bay area’s experts on the subject. Carol Kearns has spoken to audiences nationally and internationally about the process of moving through grief. She began her work in this area after her daughter died as the result of a freak wave on the Oregon coast. I recommend the site and her book to everyone who has experienced grief and everyone who has an interest in the topic.
Divorce Central: This website was highly recommended by a group of national mental health experts. It is comprehensive, thoughtfully laid out, and answers legal and psychological questions that come up in the context of this turbulent and potentially traumatic event.
Overeaters Anonymous: OA is modeled on the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step program of recovery . OA is not a diet-and-calories club. It is a worldwide organization — men and women, young and old — who are seeking relief and recovery from addiction to food.
Prescription Medication Savings
The New York Times recently reviewed two websites that are intended to reduce medication costs.
GoodRx collect information about medication and pharmacy costs from around the country and refers people to coupons to reduce the cost.
Blink Health takes the process a bit further by allowing you to order medications online.
According to the New York Times in both of these sites offer you access to prices that are far lower than you would get if you purchase these from a pharmacy directly. The prices are closer to the prices that pharmacies charge insurance companies.
Another resource that’s worth considering, although it isn’t exactly a website, is Costco. For certain generic medications Costco can offer discounts that are truly remarkable. One of our patients is paying less for the modafinil that she buys from Costco with cash than she would have to pay using her insurance plan and just paying the “co-pay”. Note that you do not need to be a Costco member to use the pharmacy services.
RxDrugCard: This is one of the best of the prescription drug savings cards, it costs about 45.95$ per year for an individual or 49.95$ for a family and allows you to go to any one of 52,000 pharmacies and pay prices that are about the same as the lowest warehouse store price.
Previously, we had a number of links previously on this website to Canadian pharmacies that often offered significant cost savings. [The FDA considers this to be illegal, but has agreed not to prosecute individuals who import medications for their own use. In addition, the FDA has published an advisory warning about the practice.]
The “Canadian pharmacy” market has changed and, if you check on almost every company that claims to be an online Canadian pharmacy, you will find that they also operate pharmacies in other locations. Your prescription will often, or usually, end up coming from a non-Canadian pharmacy, which puts you at risk of receiving counterfeit pills or pills manufactured by companies that don’t follow industry standards. In August 2016, when I checked most recently, there appeared to be one exception: You Drugstore.
You Drugstore is listed in Pharmacy Checker as an online pharmacy that only has one, Canadian, location. It is also a Better Business Bureau accredited company. However it appears to be a relatively new company.
Here are a couple of sites that have useful information about health insurance resources:
NAMI San Francisco: An affiliate of NAMI the National Alliance on Mental Illness
Psych-Appeal Meiram Bendat challenges insurance companies to pay for mental health care. We have referred several patients with difficult problems getting their insurance company to pay for their care.