United for Health is a nonprofit community health organization providing services in the San Francisco Bay Area. We operate several mobile clinics in the greater Bay Area communities, including at the high school and college level. Our primary goal is to help bridge the gap in services to those who have the least access to care – at risk youth, the unhoused, people with HIV or AIDS, and those with mental health or substance abuse issues.
Hope on the Go Mobile Clinics
United For Health’s mission is to provide health care that is accessible to all. Our services of acupuncture, nutritional and crisis counseling, herbal medicine, and important referrals to other providers are free, so there are no barriers to treatment. UFH works closely with administrators, teachers, students, community organizations, and other health providers in the Bay Area at the high school and college level to reduce stress, depression, and trauma.
The Suitcase Clinic
United for Health staff founded the Youth Suitcase Clinic in 2000 along with UC Berkeley Cal Corps and ASUC student members. Our services target the 250-300 homeless youth who are living on the streets of Berkeley, ranging from ages 14-24. We offer the youth a safe, warm, youth-specific space and a wide variety of services to help them move their lives forward and improve their overall health. At the Youth Suitcase Clinic, at-risk youth can get a healthy meal, food and laundry vouchers, full-body acupuncture, and herbal and nutritional therapy. Primary medical care is given by volunteer doctors and medical students from the UCB-UCSF Joint Medical Program. Appointments and referrals for dental and optometry services are also made for the youth with some of our community partner providers.
Acupuncture is the most utilized service we offer. It draws the youth into the clinic where we can help them overcome problems such as emotional instability, chemical dependency, and other at-risk behavior that may endanger their health and well-being. We offer acupuncture treatment, individual counseling, support groups, and help making medical appointments. Our acupuncture for addiction and mental health issues uses only a few points on your ears. Our full-body acupuncture treatments are private, and address all types of pain, suppressed immunity, mobility issues, or any health conditions that are treated by Western Medicine.
Nutrition & Counseling
Counseling is essential for our clients’ success in changing their lives and moving forward. Acupuncture treatments have been shown to be 3 to 4 times more effective and successful when combined with traditional “talk-therapy” and support groups. United for Health’s one-on-one and group counseling covers health, nutrition, and lifestyle changes. This greatly enhances the client’s ability to heal and sustain well-being. Our staff includes peer health educators who can collaborate with school schedules, community partners, and other health care practitioners for client referrals and ongoing case management. This innovative approach – using Berkeley’s student volunteers as peer counselors – models the validity of sobriety and cessation and promotes the option of healing for several mental health and substance use problems.
Homeless Youth Services
The City of Berkeley is a frequent destination for disenfranchised and neglected youth, due to the city’s history of social activism and inclusiveness. However, few healthcare resources are accessed by homeless youth because of their reluctance to deal with bureaucratic intakes and rules of traditional institutions that offer adult services. We help connect our clients with City of Berkeley, Alameda County, and other community services by making appointments for them for optometry, dentistry, medical care, and legal & housing advice where available.
Youth Wellness Program
The Youth Wellness Program’s innovative approach helps at-risk youth sustain their sobriety by providing ongoing treatment that addresses relapse and needs for repeat intervention and care. The combined use of acupuncture and nutritional therapy helps reduce depression, anxiety, and the cravings and withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. We work closely with administrators, teachers, students, and health practitioners at the high school and college level to expand Berkeley’s youth services. Hundreds of students have joined us as clients, counselors, and advocates.
Frequently Asked Questions
Acupuncture works by stimulating designated points on the body via the insertion of very fine needles. These points correspond with the functions of the brain, internal organs and other bodily processes as defined by the principles of Chinese medicine. The needles stimulate the blood and energy to flow, removing blockages that are causing pain or fatigue; hooking into a body wide system of pathways and meridians to start the healing process.
There’s just a slight pinch when the needle enters the skin similar to a fingernail. The needles are as thin as a hair, solid and flexible. There’s no tissue damage like the bleeding or bruising when you get a shot/IV. Treatment time is around 30 minutes because it takes a few minutes for the effects “to kick in”.
Ear acupuncture can be done daily and the effects are stronger and longer lasting if done close together; which is very effective for mental health and substance use issues. Full body acupuncture treatments for acute or chronic pain should be given from 1-3 times a week, depending on the severity of the symptoms to speed up the healing process. Usually 4-10 sessions are suggested for chronic conditions.
Most of our services are free and covered by grants, so there is no barrier to treatment for unhoused and low- income folks. Some of our Hope on the Go Mobile Clinics ask for donations to pay for our treatment costs if not covered by grant or company money.
Yes! We work with many nonprofits and local businesses/companies to provide care on a one time or reoccurring basis. To schedule a consultation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support United For Health
Our UFH staff has treated, trained, supervised, and mentored hundreds of students and volunteers who play a vital role at our program sites. Join us in moving forward the lives of those who need help the most in our community. United for Health depends on funding from foundations, corporations, local businesses, and caring people like you to sustain our wellness services; helping those in need to move their lives forward.
Partner With Us
United for Health’s mission is to provide health care that is completely accessible to our patients. Our services are free so there are no barriers to the essential treatment they need. We partner with city officials, community groups, and companies to expand our services and reach broader communities. Let’s connect!