Psychiatrists at Kaiser

Parent Q&A

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  • My 19 year old son is in college and looking for a Kaiser psychiatrist that will conduct a thorough evaluation process to find a better medication for his anxiety and depression. He is fed up with his long-time Kaiser Oakland pediatric psychiatrist who is unresponsive. We are in Oakland, but willing to go to Richmond or other surrounding areas of Oakland to work with someone who will truly listen and engage in a thoughtful process around finding the right med. I'm not sure if he has to work with an adult psychiatrist at this point or if a pediatric psychiatrist would still work with him at age 19, but we'll take recommendations for both. Thanks in advance!

    I work with Milin Balsara at Kaiser Richmond.  He's young, approachable, good communicator, and very knowledgeable about current medications and practices.  

    We highly recommend Dr. Deborah Denherder at Kaiser Richmond. She really listened to our older teen child, and was thorough and thoughtful in her approach. She sees adults and kids, as far as I know. 

    My two teens see Dr. Roy Eyal in Richmond, and he is excellent. He’s been very responsive to both kids and to us as a family, and has been very thoughtful about meds. He’s also been generous about consulting with the kids’ private therapists, outside of Kaiser. So far my kids have only seen him online—I don’t know if he’s seeing patients in-person right now. I’ve included the link to his personal page. I wish you and your family the best.

  • Hi - I am looking for any recommendations for a Kaiser Oakland psychiatrist who would be a better match for my 16 year old daughter. The professional to whom she has been assigned is not a good match - they have been very hands off, and in their extremely infrequent interactions my daughter has not been inclined to share details that could be helpful in her care. My child has been taking the same medication for depression for several years now, and she is not sure that it is effective. Does anyone have a good experience with an Adolescent Psychiatric Services professional within the Kaiser system? Although we are in Oakland, we would be willing to go elsewhere in the area to meet with someone she might have more trust in. Thank you!

    Sabrina Robertson LCSW was a surprising find for a therapist in Oakland Kaiser. My teen says she is the first therapist she has been real with and she has been to several. 

    Dr Menon in Walnut Creek is an excellent Adolescent Psychiatrist. Great listener, transparent about her thinking regarding medical options. My daughter really respects her as do we. 

    We gave up on Kaiser Psych dept for our kid. They can't see them often enough and every other appt is cancelled. We ended up paying out of pocket. Then when our kid went to college we switched to the UC student health insurance, which is much better for mental health.

    My child did very well with Dr. Debra Denherder at Kaiser Richmond. She is thorough and kind, and follows up well. 

    We have found Dr. Denherder at Kaiser Richmond to be very responsive. That said the separation between psychiatry and therapy is pretty strict and the psychiatrists are mainly about prescribing medications and not providing therapy. But given that, we've been happy with Dr. Denherder. 

  • I'm hoping someone has worked with a psychiatrist they can recommend for my husband, who has ADHD and depression.  He is currently on Celexa (Citalopram), which helps with depression but has sexual side affects that are making it not worth it anymore.  He tried Welbutrin as an alternative and it was not a good fit at all.  Unfortunately the psychiatrist he currently sees at Kaiser doesn't seem to assess the totality of the situation and make recommendations, but rather agrees to try something different if my husband requests it.  That seems backwards.  Surely someone at Kaiser has dealt more successfully with a similar situation.  Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

    I just switched to Dr. David Atkins in Oakland.  My Richmond psychiatrist retired and his replacement did not work well for me.   Dr. Atkins is nice but not warm and fuzzy.  Most importantly, he knows A LOT about medication and that's what it sounds like your husband needs right now.   His concern and follow-up have been great, esp as we continued to tweak things.  Good luck!  

  • Hi, can anyone recommend a psychiatrist at Kaiser Oakland that would be especially good for a young adult (20 - 21 years) with ADHD?  Our family (and friends/colleagues) has/have had such MIXED experience at Kaiser Oakland Psychiatry that we are hoping to have a specific name to make the appointment with.  (Our child was diagnosed with ADHD as a youngster, began Adderall as a teen, and thus has never had a psych evaluation.  The Kaiser PCP is now requesting that our child have one, but we don't want to just "roll the dice" and take who we get, we'd rather know we're going in to see someone experienced with both young adults and with ADHD).  Thanks for any recommendations you can provide. 

    Hi, walked a mile in your moccasins.  I have two names for you:  Ed Spolarich and Adrian Rivera.  Both work in Oakland child behavioral health.  My ADHD son saw Ed for over three years and he really, really helped diffuse a bad school experience for my son.  Adrian ran a social group held for special needs kids and was very good at recommending actions parents could take to help their kids, based on the individual child's diagnosis and needs.   Also, I highly recommend the social groups that they hold quarterly(?) or semi annually(?) for ADHD/Autustic/Other Special Needs children.  Really helpful for getting your child some needed social skills in a safe, monitored environment.  

  • Dear BPN,

    I would love to get any recommendation for a psychiatrist within Kaiser system in SF, Oakland, or San Leandro who is experienced in working with trauma.

    thank you so much!

    No responses received.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Kaiser Oakland psychiatry, both MD and therapist

Nov 2013

Hi, does anyone have a current recommendation for a really-good-to-excellent MD for meds, and separately a therapist? Seeking very smart, experienced, compassionate, really know their stuff (but not on retirement's door), likely prefer a female therapist but that isn't set in stone. Depression, PTSD experienced. Will very much appreciate any recommendations (as well as ''skip this one''s). Thank you very much. Need kaiser MH recs

I recommend Richard Roston, MD, psychiatrist at Kaiser Oakland. He is warm, compassionate, and knowledgeable. RS

Psychiatrist specialized in pregnancy

Dec 2011

Can anyone give me a recent recommendation for a psychiatrist that is good with pregnancy, it is about the topic of antidepressants during pregnancy. Thank you. Hopeful

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 healthy toddler

2005 - 2009 Discussions

Good Psychiatrist at Kaiser for suicidal friend

Oct 2007

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. Extremeley Concerned

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. anon

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 believe her.

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 recommend her.

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 have).

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 a bridge.

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. Anon

2004 & Earlier

Looking for a Richmond Kaiser psychiatrist

March 2004

Hello - 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. anon

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 little bit!?

Therapist/psych for alternative meds

March 2004

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 phone!

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.

Psychiatrist for Medication management

October 2002

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. anon

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. anon

Hi, 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 after all. Good luck. AL