Mental Health Committee

Mental Health Committee

The Mental Health Committee is focused on parents and children of our community by listing websites solely for educational and informational purposes. Rabbi Marcus has provided us with suggestions and guidance. We hope your search will help broaden your scope of mental health issues and provide some tools to make a difference in your families. Our goal is to provide you with a wide range of information on a variety of issues.  The Mental Health Committee is chaired by Marie Raftery.  To contact us for information or questions, please email

NOTE: The websites below and links contained within them  are listed for your convenience only and Temple Emanu-El is not responsible for their contents. Temple Emanu-El’s Mental Health Committee has reviewed sites with care given to regional and national accreditation but Temple Emanu-El is not responsible for the content or your use of such content. Each site has multiple links for further exploration.

These sites are separated by greatest interest to teens, young adults, parents and adults seeking general information about the growth and development of children, parenting and mental disorders followed by San Diego resources.

Recommendations for Young Adults

Emotional Health and Well Being Resources for Young Adults (Ages 14-21)


Information for General Mental Health Topics:
Center for Young Women’s Health and Young Men’s Health and from the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Boston’s Children’s Hospital provide guides on emotional health, including anxiety depression, bullying and eating disorders.

Teens Health has specific links and resources by doctors and other experts specifically for teens, including issues about body, mind, mental health illness, sexual health, videos, questions and answers.

National Alliance on Mental Health Resources for helping a friend, managing mental health in college, friendship and developing social skills and making friends.

Active Minds
A nonprofit that empowers older teens including college students to speak openly about mental health.  Active Minds aims to educate and encourage help-seeking.

Teens Against Bullying is a non-profit organization created by and for middle and high school students who want to be heard, address bullying and take action. This website also includes anti-bullying videos. provides resources for teens who are bullied and gives ideas to those teens who’d like to contribute to initiatives to help stop bullying in schools and communities.  This resource is provided by the U.S. Government’s Department of Health and Human Services

Sexual Orientation and Identity:
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, GLSEN, is the leading national organization focused on ensuring safe schools and supportive environment for all students regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression for all students.

Substance Abuse:
Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration This government website provides confidential and anonymous information on mental health services and treatment centers through a service locator for teens and adults.

Medications for Mental Health:
Head Meds This website gives young people focused information about the most common medicines prescribed for mental health conditions


Insight Timer includes a free app to support mediations, access to many meditations by a wealth of teachers.

MindShift is a free mobile app for teens developed by Anxiety BC (Canada), with mindfulness and other coping skills for anxiety.  Break free from anxiety and stress using this free evidence-based anxiety management app. based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Mindfulness for Teens includes a free app for teens to help handle stress with mindfulness with guided meditations for breathing and learning how to live in the present.  This website provides information, tools, and resources.

San Diego Mental Health Resources for Evaluation, Emergencies,
Treatment and Support of Children, Teens and Young Adults

For information regarding access to services and the San Diego County Crisis Line, including the suicide prevention hotline, call 1-888-724-7240. A trained counselor is available 24/7. For mental health emergencies, dial 911.

2-1-1 San Diego
Includes local available resources for community, health and disaster services. 2-1-1 San Diego also includes a 24/7 phone services for assistance navigating local resources. Under “Services” link to “Early Childhood Development” and “Mental Health Services.” For adults.

First 5 San Diego
Includes resources to Healthy Development Services, including behavioral, development services, screening, assessment, and treatment of mild to moderate developmental delays and referrals to additional services for a child’s first 5 years. For adults.

NAMI San Diego
Check out “Services” to for information on education, support groups and advocacy information through the San Diego organization. For adults and families.

In “Services” go to:
(Organized Support Companion in an Emergency Situation)
This is a FREE APP you can download to your smartphone or tablet which provides support information in an emergency situation including “before,” “during,” and “after” crises.” This app lists available local resources. OSCER includes a phone number for a Crisis Line that is available 24/7. For adults and young adults.

Jewish Family Service
The San Diego chapter provides information about support and counseling options as well as support groups and “Positive Parenting Program” classes. For adults and families.

Live Well San Diego
This compendium provides lists of resources and support groups of care including “Behavioral Health Services” for mental health and/or substance use disorders in San Diego County. It also includes “Emergency Numbers,” as well as service resources for adults and youth. For adults.

Elizabeth Hospice Children’s Bereavement Center
The Elizabeth Hospice Children’s Bereavement Center in Escondido offers counseling and support groups for children. For information about the center’s support groups for children, email or call (800) 797-2050

Books to Spark Your Child’s Imagination
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” Joseph Addison

On September 22, 2019 at Temple Emanu-El’s Torah and Pre-School Open House, the Mental Health Subcommittee featured Rebecca Bellingham, a noted literacy consultant, teacher, actor and author. Rebecca spoke about the importance of reading aloud to children from infancy through the middle school years. Please visit Rebecca’s website as well as her TEDxYouth presentation.

Why we should all be reading aloud to children | Rebecca Bellingham

In preparation for Rebecca’s presentation, the Mental Health Subcommittee prepared a suggested book list for parents. Although these books, in general are in age groups, they can usually be read at any age.  Always check the summary of a book for its age appropriateness.


The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
The Napping House by Audrey Wood
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Buster the Little Garbage Truck by Marcia Berneger
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
Sticks by Diane Albur
The Purim Superhero by Elisabeth Kushner

Kindergarten – Grade 3

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Heather has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
Tough (The Weird Series) by Erin Frankel
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Pink Is For Boys by Rob Pearlman
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
Stones for Grandpa by Renee Londner
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendek
Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus
Just Ask by Judge Sonia Sotomayer

Grades 4 – 5

In Our Mother’s House by Patricio Pollacco
Matilda by Ron Dahl
Stuart Little by EB White
The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Are You There God It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
The Magic Treehouse Series by Mary Pope Osborne
Fly Away by Eve Bunting

Grade 6 – 8

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L ’Engle
Wonder by RJ Palacio
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
The Devils Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Smile by Raina Telegmeir
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

Resources for Reading Lists

Disclaimer: NOTE: These links and links contained within them are listed for your further exploration and convenience. Temple Emanu-El is not responsible for their information.

ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children)
This association lists excellent award-winning books for children from 1922 to the present.  The Caldecott and Newbury Award are two of many awards given to children’s books.

Child Mind Institute Reading List
The Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders.  The Child Mind Institute has 44 books read and recommended by clinicians.

PJ Library
The PJ Library sends free, award-winning books that celebrate Jewish values and culture to families with children 6 months through 8 years old.”  It’s free and easy for parents and grandparents to subscribe.

LGBTQ Friendly Books for Kids
Reading List in Honor of Pride from the Huffington Post
“We (the Huffington Post’s Mission Statement) believe diversity – in who we are, how we tell our stories, and among the people we write for – is critical to our mission. We aim to write for, and not just about, those left out of traditional power structures; to approach stories inclusively; and to serve a diverse audience with stories that matter to them.”

COVID-19 Online Resources for Families

National Resources

CDC tips for managing stress and anxiety:

Child Mind Institute

Topics include:

Coping With the Coronavirus Crisis: supporting your kids including remote learning strategies for supporting learning at home, mental health treatment, autism, managing anxiety, discipline and dealing with loss

American Academy Of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has excellent resources for children and families, including resources for helping kids and parents cope amidst COVID-19, preparing for a video appointment with mental health clinicians, dealing with anxious children and talking to your kids about the Coronavirus

Additional resources for parents and kids:

State Resources

California Surgeon General’s Playbook Stress Relief for Covid-19

The California Surgeon General’s Stress Relief for Caregivers and Kids During COVID-19

Local Resources

 JFS Community Conversations about COVID-19 including community conversations for you and your family

UC San Diego Health:

San Diego County Resources:

Live Well San Diego has many resources for families with children including how to talk to your child about COVID-19 and resources for mindfulness and meditation.

San Diego County Office of Education has excellent resources on various topics including:

  • Tools and Information on Anxiety
  • Tools to connect with others
  • Mental Health information for teens
  • Staying Emotionally and Physically Healthy at home
  • Resources for Parents
Skip to content