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Department of Behavioral Health

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About DBH

The Department of Behavioral Health provides prevention, intervention and treatment services  and supports for children, youth and adults with mental and/or substance use disorders including emergency psychiatric care and community-based outpatient and residential services.

DBH serves eligible adults, children and youth and their families through a network of community based providers and unique government delivered services. It operates Saint Elizabeths Hospital—the District’s inpatient psychiatric facility.

Our Vision
The District of Columbia is a thriving community where prevention and recovery from substance use disorders and mental health conditions is possible and services and supports optimize a resident’s potential ability to function effectively within family and community.

Our Mission
The mission of DBH is to develop, manage, and oversee the District of Columbia’s behavioral health system for adults, children, and youth and their families using a population health approach that advances health equity.  

Our Values
The Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) embraces these values:

Respect. All persons who come in contact with the public behavioral health care system are treated with dignity and valued for their abilities and contributions.

Accountability. DBH is responsible to consumers and family members for support and unobstructed access to services. The agency encourages all interested parties to participate in the planning, development, implementation and monitoring of treatment, services, and policy.

Recovery. DBH services are provided based on the belief that people can recover from mental and substance use disorders.   Services and support for consumers, clients, and their families are tailored to:

  • Empower them to improve their quality of life
  • Address individual needs
  • Focus on strengths and resiliency
  • Provide choices and immediate access
  • Provide opportunities to participate in rehabilitation, regardless of disability

Quality. The system is responsive, cost-effective, and incorporates high standards, best practices, cultural sensitivity and consumer satisfaction. Service providers are committed to professional integrity, objectivity, fairness and ethical business practices.

Education. DBH takes the following actions to improve the service delivery system:

  • Shares information among consumers, family members, providers and the public
  • Promotes prevention, wellness, and recovery
  • Reduces stigma
  • Recognizes the needs of others for information
  • Communicates in an open and candid manner

Caring. DBH encourages genuine partnerships among consumers and clients, family members, providers, and others that foster an unconditional positive regard for the concerns of those who seek and receive services.

Our Organization