Behavioral Health

The Behavioral Health Department at American Indian Health & Services provides services that are reflective of the “Circle of Well-being” that encompasses the health of the mind, body and spirit.

We offer individual and group counseling, and provide referrals linking clients to appropriate programs and agencies for counseling and treatment.

To make an appointment, please call the Behavioral Health Clinic at 805-681-7144.


Meet our Behavioral Health Providers

J. Carlos Rivera
Chief Behavioral Health Officer

Carlos is an enrolled tribal member with the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians and is also of Mexican descent. Originally from Northern California, he received his Chemical Dependency Studies and Human Services at the American River College.

Carlos served as a substance abuse treatment provider for 11 years for Indian Health Services in Sacramento, CA. providing services to adult men and women on parole, juvenile offenders and other referrals from the Department of Corrections. Carlos is the former Executive Director at White Bison, Inc. located in Colorado Springs, CO.  He continues to make a difference in Native/Indigenous Tribal communities serving as leadership to both companies and is passionate about developing new curriculum to better meet the needs of tribal and urban Native American communities. Carlos has also been an active committee member for the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency State Committee for California, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Jonnie R. Williams, Psy.D.
Licensed Psychologist

Dr. Williams (Bitterwater Clan, Diné Nation) received her Psy.D. from the Wright Institute’s APA-accredited Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology program (Berkeley, CA). She completed her pre-doctoral APA-accredited clinical internship at Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families (Camarillo, CA), where she counseled children, adolescents and families with extensive histories of trauma and severe mental illness. Her post-doc was completed at American Indian Health & Services. She has received clinical training in a variety of settings: community mental health, integrated primary care, outpatient clinical services, substance abuse treatment, and residential treatment. Additionally, Dr. Williams has extensive training in child and adolescent psychological assessment.

Dr. Williams’ research interests include the impact of complex trauma within diverse American Indian communities. Her doctoral dissertation is a quantitative research study titled “Adverse Childhood Events and Adult Substance Abuse among Urban and Reservation American Indians.”

Jennifer Sidhwa, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Jennifer joined American Indian Health & Services in early 2020. She holds a Master of Social Work from CSU, Long Beach, a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from UC, Santa Barbara and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara. She has worked in a variety of settings including health clinics, universities, K-12 schools and non-profit organizations.

Jennifer believes her role as a therapist is to create a safe and productive space for individuals to gain insight into their own experiences and work collaboratively toward healing, resolution, and growth. She utilizes a variety of evidence-based practices in order to support and honor the mind, body, spirit and culture of each individual she works with. She specializes in working with teenagers and young adults, individuals going through significant life transitions, and individuals with severe anxiety and panic disorders. She is especially passionate about utilizing mindfulness practices throughout the therapeutic process, and she is dedicated to meeting the unique mental health needs of diverse and underrepresented populations.

Sharon Vargas, LCSW 
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Sharon is the newest member of our Behavioral Health team, having started with American Indian Health & Services in 2020.  She received her Masters in Social Work from New Mexico Highlands University, and a Bachelor’s of Fine Art from the Institute of Native American Art in Sante Fe, New Mexico. She has worked with Refugee Resettlement Programs, Domestic Violence Programs, Substance Abuse Programs, and school-based counseling programs in middle schools and high schools.

Sharon is passionate about her career in clinical social work and utilizes a combination of evidenced based approaches which support the underlying strengths and resilience in her clients. She has been providing direct services on the front lines of the opiate crisis and community mental health because she strongly believes in positive change. Sharon’s practice has taken her all over the United States, and we are grateful she decided to move to Santa Barbara and join the Behavioral Health Department at American Indian Health & Services.

To make an appointment:

Please call the Behavioral Health Clinic at 805-681-7144.