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Residents Push for City-Supported Crisis Counseling, But City Hall Says There’s No Funding Available

Published on Monday, November 14, 2022 | 5:55 am

A man and woman hug and watch police activity near the scene of a shooting death in the 1700 block of North Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena on May 2, 2022. Some residents have the City of Pasadena to pay for crisis counseling to help local residents deal with the trauma of scenes like this. [Photo by RMG News]
The City Manager’s office said the Pasadena Public Health Dept. is not funded to offer emergency mental health services after residents at a recent public meeting pressed City officials to pay for crisis counseling programs.

The statement by Assistant City Manager Nick Rodriguez also pointed out that much of the Department’s money comes from grant funding, fees for services it provides, and the State of California, not from City’s general fund.

Rodriguez’s comments came days after a District 3 meeting conducted to discuss the shooting death of former local student and resident Martrell Eric Robinson. Robinson, 22, was murdered in Pasadena in the early morning hours of Oct. 30.

Scores of concerned area residents met with District 3 Councilmember Justin Jones and other City officials at Renaissance Plaza on Tuesday, Nov. 1 to discuss their concerns and hear updates on the case.

During the meeting, the discussion veered toward the lack of City funding support for specific mental health and crisis counseling programs in Pasadena.

A number of residents pressed both Interim Public Health Director Manuel Carmona and Councilmember Jones to direct the City Council to pass funding for a 24-hour mental health and crisis counseling center.

In the following City Manager’s newsletter of November 3, Rodriguez also reported that the following crisis counseling services are available to Pasadena residents: 

  • Pacific Clinics: Call (877) PC-CARES for emergency mental health services, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • LA County Crisis Text Line: text LA to 741741 for services available 24/7. 
  • Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health ACCESS Program: Call (800) 854-7771 (available 24/7, this serves as the main entry point to emergency mental health services in the county, including in Pasadena). 
  • 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Call 9-8-8 to access a 24/7 national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. 988 text messaging and online chat is also available. 
  • If you or a loved one is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 and ask the operator for an officer trained in crisis intervention for a psychiatric emergency. 

There are several other specialized mental health assistance programs offering non-emergency services in the greater Pasadena area. A list of local resources can be found in the Pasadena Emotional Health and Well-Being Resource Guide.

Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) also offers families additional mental health resources through the Mental Health Services Department, one of  two unique internal mental health departments housed under PUSD’s Student Wellness and Support Services. The other department, THRIVE: School Mental Health, aims to provide a spectrum of comprehensive, integrated, culturally sensitive services that support the academic achievements of PUSD students by addressing mental, social, and emotional barriers.

With the launch of the new nationwide Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, any PUSD student or parent, and any local resident, can call or text 9-8-8 and get immediately connected to help 24 hours a day. Callers and texters will speak with trained counselors who will find the least invasive, most relevant, and most effective care plan for their crisis.

Additionally, individuals are encouraged to contact their primary care provider or health insurance to access a list of providers in their insurance network. 

In May 2016, the Teen Advisory Board at the Pasadena Public Library launched a Mental Health initiative to increase awareness and discussions around topics of mental health, provide specialized services and programs for teens, family and friends; provide training for staff, and maintain a well-stocked, vetted, mental health resource center.

For more info about the initiative, visit or contact Jane Gov at

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