About the California Department of Mental Health (DMH)
The California Department of Mental Health (DMH), entrusted with leadership of the California mental health system, ensures through partnerships the availability and accessibility of effective, efficient, culturally competent services. This is accomplished by advocacy, education, innovation, outreach, understanding, oversight, monitoring, quality improvement, and the provision of direct services.
The California Department of Mental Health, located in Sacramento, has oversight of a public mental health budget of more than $4 billion, including local assistance funding. Its responsibilities include:
- providing leadership for local county mental health departments;
- evaluation and monitoring of public mental health programs;
- administration of federal funds for mental health programs and services;
- the care and treatment of people with mental illness at the five state mental hospitals (Atascadero, Metropolitan, Napa, Coalinga and Patton State Hospitals) and at the Acute Psychiatric Programs located at the California Medical Facilities in Vacaville and Salinas Valley; and
- implementation of the Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63), which provides state tax dollars for specific county mental health programs and services.
DMH employs more than 10,000 employees in nine locations throughout the state, including its headquarters in Sacramento, five hospital facilities, three acute care facilities within the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. As a state public agency, DMH has worked hard to transform and improve the state's mental health systems of care by working with the mental health constituency to develop a system of partnerships and coordinated interagency efforts. These models have provided the framework for success in developing department programs and coordinating services in the treatment of children and adults who are mentally ill.
Department staff constantly strive to find the most effective use of resources and innovation at all levels - not just in treatment, but in prevention and intervention as well. All programs are designed with the recovery process in mind.
DMH's state hospital programs and staff are among the country's finest. The facilities have passed national rigorous accreditation reviews. Each hospital is staffed by professionally trained clinicians and administrative support team who provide full-time inpatient care to the most serious mentally ill and those incapable of living in the community. These referrals come from county mental health departments, the courts, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the California Youth Authority. In recent years, the population of the state mental hospitals has shifted to a majority (approximately 90 percent) of forensic patients, and DMH has met this challenge by prioritizing and balancing state-of-the-art treatment and public safety.