Figuring out where to begin can be daunting. So many agencies are referred to by acronyms or weird-sounding names that it can be hard to keep track of who does what and what everything means. Here is an overview:


AHCCCS, short for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, is Arizona's Medicaid plan that covers low-income people.

People can see whether they qualify for AHCCCS by going to or calling the Department of Economic Security, Family Assistance Administration at 1-800-352-8401.

Also, for persons seeking behavioral-health services, the CPSA comprehensive service providers can help screen for AHCCCS eligibility and help you complete the application.

If you do not qualify for AHCCCS, you may be eligible for other benefits if you are determined to have a serious mental illness or other qualifying condition.

Anyone in Pima County can get publicly funded crisis-stabilization services through Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, regardless of income, eligibility or other factors.


This private, nonprofit agency manages Arizona's publicly funded services for behavioral health (which includes mental illness and substance abuse) for people who live in Pima County. CPSA receives money from the Arizona Department of Health Services' Division of Behavioral Health Services, which receives it from AHCCCS and from state government.

CPSA then distributes the money to what are known as "comprehensive service providers." These are the agencies that actually see and treat people with mental illness. If you use the public behavioral-health system, you are what CPSA calls an "enrolled member" of its network.

FACTS: CPSA serves about 32,000 people of all ages on an ongoing basis, about one-third of whom have a serious mental illness. Another 1,000 children and adults are seen each month at its Crisis Response Center. CPSA's community-wide crisis line receives about 500 calls every day.


Community Partnership of Southern Arizona

Contact CPSA Member Services at 1-520-318-6946 or 1-800-771-9889 to discuss your needs. Translation services are available. Individuals with a hearing impairment may call 1-866-318-6960 for TTY.

CPSA Member Services is available 24 hours a day, but the best time to call is Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.


The Arizona Department of Health Services oversees the Division of Behavioral Health Services. They're commonly referred to as "ADHS/DBHS" or "the division," and it's the agency that AHCCCS/Medicaid pays to oversee the state's behavioral-health services. ADHS/DBHS in turn pays the Regional Behavioral Health Authorities (RBHAs) and Tribal Regional Behavioral Health Authorities (TRBHAs) to oversee the system in their areas and pay agencies and individuals to take care of people with mental illness.


Arizona Department of Health Services/ Division of Behavioral Health Services

Behavioral Health Services:

150 N. 18th Ave., No. 200

Phoenix, AZ 85007

Phone: 1-602-364-4558

Fax: 1-602-364-4570


If you have private health insurance, whether purchased by an individual or through an employer or family member, you are most likely not eligible to enroll in the public behavioral health network that's managed by CPSA. You are what people in the field call a "non-Title 19" person.

Private insurance companies do not have to cover mental-health services, but federal law requires "parity," so that if your plan does cover mental-health and substance-abuse treatment, the co-pays and number of allowed visits must be the same as if you are seeking medical or surgical services. Contacting your insurance company and looking at the "explanation of benefits" is the best way to figure out what behavioral-health services are covered.

If you are "non-Title 19" you can still get help if you are found to have a serious mental illness, are in crisis, or meet other criteria. Call CPSA Member Services at 1-520-318-6946 or 1-800-771-9889 for more detailed information. Translation services are available. Individuals with a hearing impairment may call 1-866-318-6960 for TTY.


If a judge decides that a person is so impaired by mental illness that he or she cannot function or be psychiatrically stabilized with treatment in the community, the person can be ordered to the Arizona State Hospital in Phoenix. It's the most restrictive environment in the state for adults, and it's a last resort. The hospital has a secure forensic ward for people who are involved in criminal proceedings or have been convicted of a crime but have a serious mental illness, as well as a separate area for people a civil court judge has determined need such intensive care. According to the hospital website, courts usually require a person to have spent at least 25 days in a hospital to attempt psychiatric stabilization before sending the person there.


Arizona State Hospital (AzSH)

Arizona State Hospital:

2500 E. Van Buren St.

Phoenix, AZ 85008

Phone: 1-602-244-1331

Fax: 1-602-220-6292

Crisis help

Emergency/Crisis/Need to Talk

If you or someone you know is having a life-threatening mental-health emergency (if, for example, thoughts of suicide or weapons or a potential overdose are involved) always call 911. Tell the dispatcher and responders if mental illness or substance abuse is involved.

If your crisis is urgent but not immediately life-threatening, call CPSA's Community-Wide Crisis Line at 1-520-622-6000 or 1-800-796-6762. The crisis line offers help to anyone in Pima County for a mental-health or substance-use crisis at any time every day, including holidays, as part of the publicly funded treatment system.

The trained, professional staff will help you figure out whether you need to come in to a crisis-stabilization facility, or whether another resource would better meet your needs. They have up-to-date information on immediately available resources in the CPSA system. Sometimes staff can help resolve your crisis over the phone, or they might dispatch a Mobile Acute Crisis (MAC) Team to you.

If you need to talk to someone but aren't having a crisis, try the HOPE Inc. Warm Line at 1-520-770-9909. It's operated from 8 a.m. to midnight every day by people who themselves are in recovery from a mental illness or substance-use disorder. HOPE Inc. is a peer-support organization that focuses on recovery and mental illness.


CPSA's new Crisis Response Center, just south of Ajo Way and Country Club Road, offers psychiatric urgent care to anyone in Pima County, regardless of age, income or other factors. If you are having a mental-health crisis and need immediate help, you can walk in to the center for services at any time (although it's helpful to call the crisis line first to let them know you're on your way).

The staff will assess your situation and provide care to stabilize your crisis. You might need some time in a safe, quiet environment to work through your crisis with people to support you. If you're on medication for a behavioral-health condition, it may need to be adjusted. Staff members who are in recovery from mental illness or a substance-use disorder will provide support, helping you understand what's happening and what to expect. You'll also have a chance to apply for AHCCCS or other care programs.

When your condition is stabilized, you'll get information on other community resources. If you're eligible for or already enrolled in the public behavioral-health-care system, staffers from CPSA providers will help you transition to other care.

Learn more about the Crisis Response Center at, which has a short quiz that can help you decide whether you need crisis care. The Crisis Response Center is part of a complex on Pima County's Kino Campus that includes the University of Arizona Health Network's Arizona Medical Center - South Campus, with an expanded psychiatric emergency department, and the network's new Behavioral Health Pavilion.


SAMHC is another place to go for help with a mental-health crisis. SAMHC also will see you no matter how old you are, whether or not you have insurance or can pay.

SAMHC is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. It's at 2502 N. Dodge Blvd. (the entrance is on Flower Street, a couple blocks north of Grant Road). Staffers will help you figure out what's going on, evaluate your situation, help with crisis counseling, drug/alcohol assessment, figure out if you are eligible for AHCCCS /Medicaid and help you connect with services.

Learn more at


Compass is where to go for help with substance abuse. Call 1-520-624-5272 anytime, 24 hours a day.

Compass provides services for addictions to a variety of substances.

Detoxification facilities are at 2499 E. Ajo Way (across the street from UA Health Network's South Campus; entrance from Forgeus). Compass is part of the public behavioral-health system, and some of its services are also available on a sliding scale for those who don't qualify for AHCCCS.


24-hour national crisis hotlines:

• 1-800-SUICIDE - HopeLine Suicide Hotline

• 1-800-273-TALK - National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


• Pima, 1-800-796-6762 or 1-520-622-6000

• Maricopa, 1-800-631-1314 and 1-602-222-9444

• Graham, Greenlee, Cochise and Santa Cruz, 1-866-495-6735

• Gila River and Ak-Chin Indian communities, 1-800-259-3449

• Yuma, LaPaz, Pinal and Gila, 1-866-495-6735

• Mohave, Coconino, Apache, Navajo and Yavapai, 1-877-756-4090


The Community Partnership of Southern Arizona's Crisis Response Center opened in August 2011, after voter approval in a 2006 Pima County bond election. It offers 24/7/365 crisis services to anyone in Pima County and is near the UA Health Network's South Campus, just south of Ajo Way and Country Club Road. The center has separate areas for adults and for children and adolescents in crisis. An expanded psychiatric emergency department is in the same complex, along with inpatient units for people who need hospitalization.

The center treats everyone, regardless of insurance status or enrollment in AHCCCS (Arizona's form of Medicaid), and staff will help people determine whether they are eligible for benefits that would pay for ongoing treatment. You can bring someone to the center or go there yourself and be evaluated and given guidance for future behavioral-health care.