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Mental Health Services

The Office of Mental Health (OMH) is the administrative entity within DBHDS responsible for planning, implementation and oversight of mental health services and supports for adults, and for promoting behavioral health wellness. 


The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law issued fact sheets for supported employment.  This effort helps individuals who have a mental illness find and keep a job.

OMH’s major areas of responsibility include the following:

Articulating, implementing and supporting the DBHDS Vision, mission and related values and principles as we conduct day-to-day operations and engage in the process of making positive system change. Responsibilities include:

  • Ongoing communication, guidance, clarification, refinement of agency vision and values and how these are operationalized in agency functions, service delivery by CSBs and facilities, and administrative practice.
  • Liaison to CSBs, state hospitals, service recipients and families, support and advocacy organizations, other public and private agencies and partners.

Planning related to the Commonwealth’s public behavioral health services for adults, including developing strategic and operational plans, funding proposals, etc. Responsibilities include writing, reviewing, revising and managing:

  • Mental health, prevention and behavioral wellness components of agency Comprehensive Plan.
  • Federal Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Plan (MHBG), periodic applications in collaboration with the Office of Substance Abuse Services for the combined MHBG and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, and implementation reports
  • Continuity of Operations Plan for OMH
  • Strategic planning
  • State Suicide Prevention Plan
  • MH initiatives in the annual budget submission process

Program Development
: Developing, implementing, monitoring and supporting new community and facility behavioral health initiatives, including programs, services and administrative infrastructure and supports. Responsibilities include:

  • Develop and implement new MH initiatives funded by the Virginia General Assembly (fund allocation method, oversee implementation, collect and report required data, etc.)
  • Support and oversee existing MH direct service programs in CSBs and facilities, including
    • Programs of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT), crisis stabilization services, residential services, homelessness services, peer support programs, prevention services (including substance abuse and suicide prevention, mental health promotion and tobacco use reduction)
  • Implement and manage state-level program initiatives including
    • Mental Health First Aid
    • Suicide Prevention
    • SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR, training in SSI/SSDI benefit acquisition
    • Incorporating Advance Directives (ADs) into routine clinical care

Policy Development
: Reviewing, developing, implementing, and evaluating behavioral health policies in Virginia. Examples include:

  • Mental health related State Board Policies
  • Medical Screening and Medical Assessment Guidance
  • Employment First activities

Grants and Contract Management
: Developing, implementing and managing grants and contracts for which the office is responsible, including:

  • MH Block Grant
  • Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) Grant, including monitoring and oversight of 13 CSB subgrantees
  • Contracts with peer-run direct service organization
  • Contracts with NAMI Virginia, the Virginia Organization of Consumers Asserting Leadership (VOCAL), and Mental Health America of Virginia (MHAV), for education and support services and administration of the Virginia Behavioral Health Advisory Council
  • Contracts with the University of Virginia Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy (ILPPP) for legal research and Advance Directives research and implementation
  • Contract with the ILPPP Contract in collaboration with the DBHDS Office of Forensic Services and the Sexually Violent Predator Program for annual core training and the publication Developments in Mental Health Law
  • National Council for Behavioral Health Contract for Mental Health First Aid training
  • Living Works Contract for ASIST training

Quality Improvement
: Developing, implementing and supporting statewide, regional or local quality improvement, evaluation, performance management or monitoring infrastructure and processes.

  • Development of BH performance measures
  • Temporary Detention Order (TDO) Exceptions data collection
  • Recovery Oriented System Indicators (ROSI) and other recovery self assessment data collection
  • Manage Consumer and Family Satisfaction with CSB service surveys, conducted annually
  • Develop and participate in CSB program review process via site visits and continuing follow up in collaboration with DBHDS Internal Audit Division and other program offices 

Interagency Collaboration
Convening, coordinating and collaborating with other agencies and organizations to pursue or represent the Commonwealth’s or Department’s behavioral health interests on commissions, committees, workgroups, studies, task forces, advisory groups, councils, etc. Examples include:

  • Ongoing and ad hoc work with
    • Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services
    • Department of Housing and Community Development
    • Department of Medical Assistance Services
    • Department of Social Services
    • Department of Veterans Services
    • Mental Health America of Virginia
    • Office of the Attorney General
    • NAMI Virginia
    • Virginia Supreme Court
    • Virginia Association of Community Services Boards
    • Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association
    • Virginia Housing Development Authority
    • Virginia Health Care Association
    • VOCAL
  • Suicide Prevention state workgroup
  • Virginia Violent Death Reporting System
  • Homeless Outcomes Committee
  • Virginia Wounded Warrior Program

Legislative Initiatives
: Managing and completing legislative initiatives affecting behavioral health policy and operations, including statutory legislation, Appropriations Act requirements and studies and follow-up initiatives pursuant to legislative action. Areas of focus include involuntary treatment, privacy, consent (including advance directives, guardianship, judicial authorization for treatment, etc.), prevention and health promotion, suicide and suicide prevention, firearms prohibitions, mental health in schools and colleges, and related areas. Responsibilities include:

  • Preparing legislative proposals
  • Analyzing and evaluating MH legislation for agency, and suggesting refinements
  • Representing agency in legislative committees and to legislators
  • Implementing and monitoring new laws in system
  • Completing required legislative studies and reports

Administrative Operations
: Carrying out day-to-day administrative tasks and functions that support the Office of Mental Health, the Department, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources (SHHR), and the Governor. Examples include:

  • Telephone coverage, procurement, travel reimbursement, workflow tracking, manage cars assigned to office, leave accounting, telecom and computer technology, office space, furniture, budget management 
  • Recruitment, hiring and ongoing supervision of staff
  • Represent OMH in management meetings, ad hoc workgroups, project committees, etc.
  • Issue papers, analyses, evaluations, etc. for Commissioner, Asst. Commissioner, SHHR, etc.
  •  Manage incoming and outgoing email and paper correspondence, etc.

Training and Consultation
: Planning, leading, sponsoring, conducting and supporting education, training, consultation and other learning for providers, administrators and system stakeholders. Examples include:

  • Manage CSB screener and independent evaluator certification (develop and update 25 training modules on an ongoing basis, monitor and facilitate user access, interpret policy requirements, etc.)
  • Annual training in new legislation, and ad hoc training (with OAG)
  • Coordinate and deliver SOAR, MHFA, ASIST
  • Invited presentations and webinars to stakeholder groups, providers, other agencies at conferences, meetings etc.

Customer Service
: Responding to daily inquiries, requests for information or assistance, referral, clarification or interpretation of policy, etc., from customers (including service recipients, families, Commissioner’s office, other DBHDS offices (e.g. media), and external agencies and organizations, etc.).


In addition, please note that additional information about 2014 changes to Virginia's civil commitment laws, information on the Psychiatric Bed Registry and other resources can be found under the Professionals and Service Providers section.

We are continuing to develop this section of the website, so please check back soon because there is much more to come.