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We are looking for a Kaiser child psychiatrist who understands
that early-onset (juvenile) bipolar disorder manifests differently
than adult bipolar. We need a psychiatrist for our 10-year-old
who is open-minded, smart, and keeps up on the latest research.
Willing to travel anywhere in the Bay Area to see someone who
really understands and is willing to treat childhood bipolar
disorder. Our current doctor uses the DSM-IV criteria (which were
written for adults) for bipolar in children, which has been very
I don't have a specific recommendation for a Kaiser psychiatrist, but
after spending nearly six years at Kaiser Oakland, I can give you some
advice about the psychiatrists there --stay away from them. My son saw
Dr. Gershon for anxiety and anger/depression issues and we were not
impressed. We tried to switch to another psychiatrist in that office, and
were not allowed to do so. We could never get her on the phone, as it was
always full of messages, or she was unavailable to take messages. Not a
good situation when you need a quick call-back for an urgent problem.
I want to second the previous comment to avoid Dr. Gershon,
Child Psychiatrist at Kaiser Oakland. Our experience was the
same as that of the previous responder. Our child saw her
for anxiety/ depression issues. We could never get Dr.
Gershon on the phone, and never had a call back from her to
messages we left. In addition, the Receptionist clearly
hated her job and took it out in negativity and rigidity/
unwillingness to help us at times. (This was acknowledged by
the Dr. we were seeing at the time). Interacting with this
grumpy and sometimes unhelpful person was really unpleasant.
I think you may have better luck at the Kaiser Richmond
Child Psychiatry dept.
Best of luck.
Wishing you well.
Can anyone give me a recent recommendation for a psychiatrist that is good
with pregnancy, it is about the topic of antidepressants during pregnancy.
If you are a Kaiser patient, I can recommend Elisa Rambo, a
psychiatrist at Kaiser Oakland. She does not necessarily
specialize in pregnancy, but is very knowledgeable about
depression and pregnancy. Before getting pregnant, I spent
an entire appointment with her going over the research on
anti-depressants and pregnancy/breast-feeding (she had
recently given a presentation on the topic and was
incredibly well versed in the research). The information
and guidance she provided at that point was instrumental in
me making informed decisions about my mental health care
during pregnancy, which for me meant continuing to take
anti-depressant medication. While pregnant, I worked with
her to monitor my anti-depressant dosage and adjust as
needed. Work with a psychiatrist during your pregnancy to
manage any medications for mental health issues; in my
experience, OB-GYNs and nurse midwives do not know enough
and are too quick to recommend going off necessary (and
safe) medications. SSRI-taker through pregnancy/breasfeeding with happy and
An adult person I know is on the verge of suicide. He just got coverage by Kaiser;
does anyone know of a really good psychiatrist in Kaiser Richmond or Oakland? This
person is reluctant to try therapy because he has tried several time in past and
didn't help, including meds, however, may be able to get them to try again.
Looking for a therapist who will not just prescribe pills but get to the root of
the problem, hopefully. Thanks for ANY suggestions.
There are many wonderful therapists and psychiatrists at Richmond Kaiser. I
went through a time of severe depression with suicidal thoughts and they
helped me work through it. At Kaiser, your friend would probably have both a
therapist and a psychiatrist (drug prescriber).
As for psychiatrists, I highly recommend Dr. Anne Menahemy. She's so much
more than a drug prescriber! She actually listens. She is warm, thoughtful,
conscientious and really goes out of her way to help her patients. She is not
quick to prescribe medicine. She will tell all the pros and cons of a
medication if she really thinks it could help.
I also wanted to recommend the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). I can't
say enough about this amazing program. It meets for three hours, three days a
week and your friend will have a whole team of caring therapists to work with
him through this hard time. I realize a group setting might be too much at
first... but that high level of attention, through one-on-one visits, group
therapy and an educational approach saved my life.
The psych department at Kaiser Richmond also has great education programs
too. (not health ed - those are different)
You are good to ask about this for your friend's sake. I wouldn't be here if
a similar friend hadn't helped me make that first appointment.
I found Dr. Jeanne Leventhal at Kaiser Oakland through this list & she's the
best psychiatrist I've ever had- & I thought my past ones were excellent! I
have a chronic, genetic mood disorder that makes me very susceptible to
depression, & she recognized that I'd never been sufficiently treated for it
right off & started aggressively adjusting my medications.
I was seriously clinically depressed & suicidal when I first saw her & she
got me out of that quite quickly. The lower grade chronic depression and mood
instability I have is much trickier to treat & we're still working on that.
My particular genetic (& permanent, I'll be on meds for the rest of my life)
mood disorder is known to be difficult to treat & mine has proved to be
especially difficult. She's the first doc who's ever said to me ''I can get
you through this & out the other side'', & based on my experience so far, I
She's difficult to get in to see, she's one of the docs to whom difficult
cases are referred, & she's been out on an extended emergency leave for
several weeks so is probably going to be especially backed up when she
returns to work next weeek. I had to pretty much insist on her & then wait
6-8 (I don't remember exactly) for a first appointment. If your friend can
get an appointment with her & IF he can hold on for a few weeks, I highly
If he can get an appt with Jeanne but is so seriously suicidal that he can't
safely wait a few weeks, then he might try to get in to see Dr. Adam Travis
at Kaiser Union City while he's waiting for Jeanne. I don't know if they'd
let him make appts with two different doctors at the same time at Oakland
(each Kaiser has its own set of protocols), but I'm pretty sure that he can
make one there & one at a different facility (don't ask, just try to do it- I
Adam is a lovely person & a very competent psychiatrist, not as experienced
or creative as Jeanne is, & when I got in serious difficulty I needed more
help than he was able to give. But like I said, my case is especially
difficult. He won't be offended if your friend wants to use him as a
stop-gap, & in my experience it's easier to get in to see a psychiatrist at
Union City than in Oakland.
But- if he needs to see someone NOW, if he can't wait more than a few days
without being in real danger of killing himself, then he needs to say that
loud & clear when he calls Kaiser, and he needs to insist on seeing someone
right away. ANY psychiatrist is better than none if you're ready to jump off
He's not going to get more than group therapy at Oakland. They will probably
want him to go to their depression group which is cognitive therapy. My
opinion, from my own experience, is that although cog ther can be very useful
for people with mild to moderate depression, especially if it's situational,
it's not appropriate for someone who is clinically & suicidally depressed.
The reason I think that is because a big part of cog ther is doing little
exercises, & when a person is to the point of being suicidal they're usually
literally incapable of doing things like that, & it can become more evidence
to them that they're a hopeless failure.
Everyone's different & maybe he wouldn't feel that way about it but I'd
suggest he consider maybe holding off on doing the group until he's in better
shape. Kaiser will push him to do it right away, cog ther people are totally
convinced that it works for anyone & everyone.
Jeanne Leventhal has a very upfront personality, which I really like, but
it's possible that some people might find her a bit abrasive. Don't let that
fool you, she really cares about her patients.
I'm looking for recommendations for the following Richmond
Kaiser pyschiatrists for treatment of long-term chronic
depression: Fuensanta Botello, Christopher Eaton and Anne Marie
Menahemy. Thank you very much.
My wife has been under Dr. Botello's care for the last 1-2
months, for depression triggered by peri-menopause. I don't
know if this is normal, but she sees *3* different doctors at
Kaiser Richmond: her regular physician, a psychologist (who
does most of the counseling), and Dr. Botello, a psychiatrist,
who does most of the medication prescriptions. Her regular
physician did the initial prescription, but Dr. Botello has
taken over. My wife said Dr. Botello is pleasant enough, but
her main goal is to find you the right kind of medication,
minimizing side effects, etc., and doesn't tend to do much
counseling... her appt's can be half an hour, or even a bit
less. Viewed solely on the basis of dealing with the meds, I
think my wife is satisfied with Dr. Botello. Hope that helps a
If by any chance you have Kaiser, I work with an excellent psychiatrist there who is
very knowledgeable about alternative treatments as well as conventional ones. He is
Rafael Gray, 415-833-3181.
I take medication, which I am comfortable with and has saved my life, and I also
take some supplements that he has recommended which do have benefits for me. I
asked him once if he ever used only alternative treatments, and he said he has with
patients who were completely anti-medication. He is a non-nonsense guy who can
come across as abrupt, but from 2 years of working with him I know that he is not
only very knowledgeable, but also very compassionate. He returns my calls
the same day (or the next day that he is in his office), and he even answers his own
During long years of battling depression, I tried many alternative treatments,
including homeopathy but not biofeedback, and none of them helped me. So
eventually I got over my fears of medication, went through many trials, and finally
found a combo of drugs that works for me.
I like to encourage people to stay open-minded all around- to alternative as well as
conventional treatments, but to not give up on conventional treatments. It can take
a lot of persistence to hang in there with drug trials and side effects, and you must
work with someone who you trust and can communicate well with. I have a friend
who has been experiencing terrible depression for the last 2 years as he has
bounced from one alternative therapy to another. It pains me to watch him. I have
much understanding and empathy from my own experience, and I know how hard it
can be to trust and be rational when depression has you in its grip.
I am interested in seeking psychiatric services for my 10 year
old son. Smart but unmotivated, feels inadequate, fearful,
opositional behavior at home and at school, etc. We have Kaiser
and I'd like to hear from parents who have had experience from
any of the following Kaiser psychiatrists:
While I know you're asking about a psychiatrist, if you're
interested in going the therapy route I HIGHLY recommend Larry
Liebman. My 8 year old son has been visiting him for a couple of
months and while my son still struggles, it has helped
immensely. They have developed a great repoire, and he is very
open to working with the entire family, if you desire.
Virginia Wolfe is the Chief of Psychiatry at Richmond Kaiser.
She is outstanding. I work with her and would recommend her for
your son. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Virginia Wolf used to be the psychiatrist for the pediatric
patients at San Francisco General Hospital. I work in the same clinic and my impression is
that she is very highly regarded by the pediatricians at San Francisco General Hospital,
they were very sorry to see her leave. She is a thoughtful,
compassionate type of person. She has experience with meds, of
course, but didn't seem to recommend them routinely. She also
provided on-going counseling to patients, not just medication
prescribing. I would highly recommend her based on her reputation
at the General.
We have had two visits and a few phone calls with Dr. Wymes re:
medication for our ADD daughter, so our experience is quite
limited. I found him thorough, smart and forthright, but not
hugely warm and fuzzy. He was responsive to calls and followed up
well. Good luck with everything.
We have worked closely with Dr. Wymes over the last year at Oakland
Kaiser. We agree that initially he does not come across as warm and fuzzy
but our experience has been that he has been extremely responsive to our
needs and very compassionate. He always returns phone calls even if it is
at 7pm in the evening before he goes home. He has often called on a Friday
evening to let us know what he was doing about a particular issue so that
we did not have to wonder all weekend what was going on. He has welcomed
our input into the process and is very willing to consider different
options while making good arguments for his final decision. He has not
hesitated to consult other professionals, both in and out of Kaiser, which
we find very reasssuring. He initially recommended therapy(did not go
straight to medication) and now works very closely with my child's
therapist. We had a bad experience with the Kaiser Psychiatry Department
until my pediatrician put us in contact with Dr. Wymes but we consider
ourselves lucky to have this combination of therapist and psychiatrist at
this point. Good luck!
My wife and son saw Harold Bornstein briefly. She thought he was
too brief and ready to prescribe without uncovering what was
really going on. Our son has now improved tremendously without
meds. My wife's favorite person was Kate Mountain, not a
psychiatrist but a PhD. She would be happy to talk with you about
her experience with other staff members there if you are interested.
I'd appreciate recommendations on psychiatrists at Kaiser
Oakland to do medication management. I see a therapist out of
the Kaiser network, but she is not an M.D. Modification of
antidepressent medication is not a topic I feel my Kaiser
internist would know that much about.
My husband has been working with Dr. Levitt (Kaiser Oakland) for
a number of years now and really likes/trusts him.
I worked with Dr. Harris (male) at Kaiser Oakland. He was very
responsive to my needs and knowledgable about the different
medications. I recommend him highly.
Having been a Kaiser Oakland employee, I suggest you talk to
your internist about which psychiatrist he or she recommends for
you. The psychiatrists have different personalities and areas
of expertise, and your internist might be able to point you to a
good match. Most internists now also have a good knowledge of
antidepressant treatment, so you might not need to go to psych
Re: African American therapist for teen
Dear Mom with Clashing Son and Husband: If you have a membership with Kaiser
Permanente which includes mental health benefits, I highly recommend their
family psychiatry department over in the Mosswood building at the Oakland
facility. They have two outstanding Black male professionals on staff (and
perhaps others whom I am not personally familiar with). Dr. Whitmore and Dr.
Simmons counsel both adults and children in individual sessions and in groups
organized for early/pre-teen children. You will need to inquire as to
whether your situation meets their criteria for obtaining services and of
course, they are probably already very busy. But for serious family problems
affecting our children, Kaiser members should be aware that affordable help
can be obtained. Good luck.
Rosco Simmons at Kaiser, Oakland is excellent.
One of the other therapists in my building used to be a Kaiser Oakland therapist, so I asked
him. He suggested Dr. Roscoe Simmons and Dr. Gerald Whitmore of the child and
adolescent unit. The number to call for appointments is 596-2737. Good luck.
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