What We Do

What we do:  Phoenix of Santa Barbara provides a range of mental health recovery-oriented services, with the goal of helping individuals and families cope and thrive in the face of a variety of psychiatric and substance abuse conditions.  We recently celebrated 40 years of providing services and education about the full range of psychiatric challenges we face in the 21st century!

Vision statement:  Recovery from the inside out.

Mission statement:  Transforming lives through creative and nurturing approaches to psychiatric recovery.

Phoenix of Santa Barbara provides innovative residential and outpatient services to assist adults diagnosed with psychiatric and addictive disorders with a focus on encouraging clients to participate fully in their own recovery.

A bit of history:   Phoenix of Santa Barbara was founded as a non-profit corporation in 1972 by a group of individuals wanting to improve social and mental health services in Santa Barbara. These founders included Ada Schick Wing, Eleanor Wright, the Reverend Kevin Snow, Carol Doane, and Millie Riemenschneider.


Originally, the property at 107 East Micheltorena Street in Santa Barbara was bought to serve the needs of troubled youth. This property was named Phoenix House, and still carries that name. In 1979, state law governing the status of youthful offenders was changed from non-voluntary to voluntary participation.  This led the Board of Directors of Phoenix of Santa Barbara, working with County mental health officials, to change the program and make Phoenix House a residential treatment program for adults with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  This mission continues today – caring and rehabilitating adults diagnosed with the most serious psychiatric challenges.  Phoenix House has 3 private pay rooms, and 9 publicly funded beds.  If you are interested in services at Phoenix House, call (805) 965-3434 or click here.

In 1990 a second 11-bed facility was opened and named after Ada Schick Wing, a long-time member of the Phoenix Board of Directors and a strong advocate for the mentally ill. Ada’s Place was first on Montecito Street and then moved to 1231 Garden Street in Santa Barbara in 1993.  In 2005, the program of Ada’s Place was moved to a new location, 37 Mountain Drive, close to the Santa Barbara Mission, and was re-named Mountain House.

In 1997 we started our Mainstream outpatient program to assist individuals in living as independently as possible. In 1999, we began providing Mainstream services through private pay mechanisms as well as through the County.  In 2008, Mainstream became entirely a private-pay service, working with individuals and families to enhance and improve the lives of those challenged by schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, addictions and other psychiatric conditions.   In July 2013, Mainstream moved to its own set of offices at 1522 Olive St in Santa Barbara.  If you are interested in Mainstream services for yourself or your loved one, call (805) 845-0700 or click here.

In 2001, with a major focus on treating substance abuse, we opened a new wing, funded by foundations and individuals, the Wright Building, in honor of one of the founders, and long-time Board member, Eleanor Wright.  The program that has operated in the Wright Building since its opening is called the Dual Diagnosis Program.  The “Dual” is the combination of mental illness and addiction that is the co-occurring disorder at the heart of the treatment work.  It takes a dually competent staff to do this work, and the program, using mostly group therapy and group skill building helps individuals find their unique path of recovery.   To enroll in this program or find out more information, call (805) 965-3434 or click here.

In 2005, we opened Mountain House, a state-licensed 14-bed rehabilitation program for adults with mental illness located at 37 Mountain Drive in Santa Barbara. The program formerly known as Ada’s Place moved into the Mountain Drive property located on 3 acres of wooded land near the Santa Barbara Mission. The program, which is less structured than Phoenix House, has more individualized programming, and has no maximum length of stay.  The beautiful natural habitat of Mission Canyon, surrounding the facility, makes this a particularly tranquil and healing program.  Mountain House has one private pay room, and 13 publicly funded beds.  If you are interested in services at Mountain House, call (805) 965-3434 or click here.

In 2010, moving in a new direction of innovation, Phoenix of Santa Barbara produced a documentary, Crazy Art, on the role of art in recovery from serious psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia.  The film premiered in the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and garnered an Audience Choice award, placing in the top 5 of 200 films.   The film’s website is www.CrazyArtOnline.com

In 2011, Phoenix’s Dual Diagnosis program expanded by being part of a SAMHSA-funded grant to provide services to clients diagnosed with psychiatric and substance abuse conditions in the Clean and Sober Court System.  SAMHSA is the federal Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration.

Phoenix of Santa Barbara partners with the County of Santa Barbara’s Department of Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services to provide residential and outpatient services.

Private-pay services are available in each of the agency’s programs.  If you would like any more information, please call (805) 965-3434 or click here.

Funding:  While government contracts, and individual fees cover the majority of costs, we rely also on grants, donations and contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.   Fundraising is an important part of our activities, to assist with both operations and capital projects.

Current fundraising projects include raising funds for the support and development of our Mainstream program, re-roofing Mountain House, and paying down the mortgage on Mountain House.

Donate to assisting the work of rehabilitating those with mental illness:

If you would like to contribute to assisting with either our operational expenses or with our capital projects please click here to go to the fundraising part of our website.  We strongly encourage donations to our non-profit!   Donations are tax-deductible, as permitted by law.