As the State Mental Health Authority, the Department of Mental Health (DMH) assures and provides access to services and supports that are person-centered and recovery-focused to meet the behavioral health needs of individuals of all ages, enabling them to live, work and fully participate as valuable, contributing members of our communities. The Department’s network provides services to approximately 21,000 individuals with severe and persistent mental illness across the Commonwealth, including children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbance and their families through a continuum of care.
The large majority, more than 90 percent, of persons receiving DMH services live and are supported in the community. Our Community First initiative has resulted in an expansion of community services such that we are able to rely much less heavily on institutional settings such as state hospitals. Advancement in our community service system means that more individuals are living and working in the community, contributing to the fabric of our society, as they experience recovery. A small percentage of persons living with mental illness require inpatient services at any given time.