The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health is the largest county-operated mental health department in the United States, directly operating programs in more than 85 sites, and providing services via contract program and DMH staff at approximately 300 sites co-located with other County departments, schools, courts and other organizations. Each year, the County contracts with more than 1,000 organizations and individual practitioners to provide a variety of mental health-related services.
On average, more than 250,000 County residents of all ages are served every year. The Department’s mission -- enriching lives through partnership to strengthen our community’s capacity to support recovery and resiliency – is accomplished by working with stakeholders and community partners to provide clinically competent, culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate mental health services to clients in the least restrictive setting.
To optimize the hope, wellbeing and life trajectory of Los Angeles County's most vulnerable by delivering services that promote independence through personal recovery and connectedness though community reintegration.
WHO: Populations suffering from persistent mental illness, especially those with no safe living environment, inadequate access to resources, and absent family or kin. Highest priority is afforded to those struggling in foster care, subsisting in the streets/shelters, frequenting ERs, “living” on psychiatry wards, and languishing in criminal justice system.
HOW: Supply housing, surrogate family (kin through peers) and maximizing access to a continuum of resources that address mental conditions (systems of care) including...
- ① Prevent mental deterioration by reducing exposure to trauma;
- ② Mitigate suffering by reaching and engaging those in crisis;
- ③ Provide critical care as indicated;
- ④ Facilitate stability through needs-driven treatment, and;
- ⑤ Promote personal recovery as well as community reintegration.
DMH envisions a county that through diversified collaboration and with unified intention across all sectors, provides those impaired by serious mental conditions and languishing in substandard environments with timely and easy access to the services, opportunities, environments and amenities needed to stabilize, heal and flourish.
Mental health services provided include assessments, case management, crisis intervention, medication support, peer support and other rehabilitative services. Services are provided in multiple settings including residential facilities, clinics, schools, hospitals, county jails, juvenile halls and camps, mental health courts, board and care homes, in the field and in people’s homes. Special emphasis is placed on addressing co-occurring mental health disorders and other health problems such as addiction. The Department also provides counseling to victims of natural or manmade disasters, their families and emergency first responders. The Director of Mental Health is responsible for protecting patients’ rights in all public and private hospitals and programs providing voluntary mental health care and treatment, and all contracted community-based programs. The Director also serves as the public guardian for individuals gravely disabled by mental illness, and is the conservatorship investigation officer for the County.
The Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), created by the passage of Proposition 63 in 2004, has expanded the partnerships and capacity of the mental health system in Los Angeles. DMH continues to work with a diverse group of community stakeholders to effect the historic expansion of mental health services funded by MHSA.
DMH’s services to adults and older adults are focused on those who are functionally disabled by severe and persistent mental illness, including those who are low-income, uninsured, temporarily impaired, or in situational crises. Services to children and youth are focused on those who are seriously emotionally disturbed and diagnosed with a mental disorder. They include wards or dependents of the juvenile court, children in psychiatric inpatient facilities, seriously emotionally disturbed youth in the community, and special education students referred by local schools and educational institutions.