The Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) envisions a county where all people enjoy optimum wellness, including those with serious and persistent mental illness, serious emotional disturbances or substance use disorders. DBH focuses on quality behavior health services for Medi-Cal beneficiaries with an emphasis on the changing children’s system of care, ensuring support of children with serious emotional disturbances and/or substance use disorders. The department continues to integrate mental health and substance use disorders into a seamless system of care, addressing them as co-occurring. Law enforcement collaborations and hospital based partnerships remain DBH goals.

To expand services under the Organized Delivery System waiver for Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment under Drug Medi-Cal coverage, DBH hosted 40 meetings to gather provider, consumer and partner feedback in how to best implement expanded services. These lead to stronger consumer relationships and better access to care for approximately 10,000 residents.

In implementing Senate Bill (SB) 82 grant monies, DBH saved over 184 law enforcement hours when responding to psychiatric distress calls. By co-locating DBH clinical staff in 10 police/sheriff’s departments that receive direct calls, DBH improved customer service to callers and urgent psychiatric services access, resolving crisis issues for 46 percent of callers without impacting emergency rooms and/or hospitals in 2016. Department staff reduced caller wait times, providing crisis services in the least intrusive and best level of care right from the word, “hello.”

DBH partnered with Children and Family Services to prepare for Continuing Care Reform to increase foster youth access to behavioral health services. The department implemented a contracted method using a pooled resource approach that allows providers to serve children more effectively, and be reimbursed for Medi-Cal services on-site in 34 additional facilities, serving 430 youth in a positive, supportive setting.

DBH will increase consumer education by programming its lobby televisions with messaging on accessing specialty and primary care information, referral processes, increased awareness of health benefits, and behavioral health and SUD issues. Adults with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier from treatable medical conditions. This initiative will improve access to health care and quality of life.
DBH plans to improve its website to better share information that leads to residents’ wellness, recovery and resiliency. Approximately 1 in 25 adults experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that interferes with, or limits one or more major life activities. This effort will destigmatize these conditions, helping residents seek care for themselves or loved ones.

Veronica Kelley
Director, Department of Behavioral Health



consumers served
in fiscal year 2016-2017


increase in the number of
psychiatric residents through
multi- sector partnerships with
public and private entities

70 Schools

visited by staff
to generate student
in public
behavioral health careers

Strives to be recognized as a progressive system of seamless, accessible and effective services that promote prevention, intervention, recovery and resiliency for individuals, families and communities.