Deputy Secretary for Mental Health/Substance Abuse Services

Valerie Vicari, Acting Deputy Secretary
P. O. Box 2675
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2675

Receptionist: 717-787-6443

Behavioral Health services range from community to hospital programs with emphasis on helping children, adolescents, and adults to remain in their communities. Community-based services are emphasized, with the goal to help people who have serious mental illness or serious emotional disturbance break the cycle of repeated hospital or residential admissions. The range of services includes outpatient, partial, residential, short-term inpatient hospital care, emergency crisis intervention services, counseling, information, referral and case management services.

Services provided to adults are based on the Community Support Program (CSP) principles: consumer-centered, consumer-empowered, culturally appropriate, flexible, strengths-based, community-based, natural supports, needs-based and coordinated. In accordance with these principles, vocational/employment services, psychiatric rehabilitation services, community treatment teams, housing supports, consumer-run drop-in centers, social/recreational services as well as other locally designed services for special needs and populations are also available to adults.

A wide range of services are also provided to children and adolescents. They are all based on the Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP) principles: child-centered, family-focused, community-based, multi-system, culturally competent, and least restrictive/least intrusive. Innovative community outreach services include home and community behavioral health services, and family-based rehabilitation services for children/adolescents with serious emotional disturbance in addition to residential treatment services and the other services listed above. The Student Assistance Program (SAP) services are available in schools for adolescents at risk of serious emotional disturbance.

In addition to the above-mentioned services, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services operates six  state psychiatric hospitals for persons with serious mental illness, which provide special intensive treatment services for individuals needing extended psychiatric inpatient services. Admission of persons committed under the Mental Health Procedures Act is made through the County Mental Health/Developmental Services program after short-term treatment has been provided in the community.

The Department also operates a nursing home to provide long-term care for older people who no longer require psychiatric services but who need nursing care. South Mountain Restoration Center serves the entire commonwealth.

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services offers a wide variety of drug and alcohol services available to children and adults in conjunction with the Department of Health’s Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs (BDAP).