Mental Health

Public Notice for 2019 Community Mental Health Services Block Grant

The draft of the 2019 update to the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (CMHSBG) is now available for comment. This application was developed with stakeholder input from the Mental Health Planning Council. The application provides a review of the current strengths and needs in the Pennsylvania Mental Health System and plans priority areas for improvement. Any comments or questions regarding the 2019 CMHSBG update may be directed to Wendy Tucker at or 717-705-8280. The comment period will close Friday, August 24th.

2019 CMHSBG Application

Public Notice for Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) Regulations

The Department of Human Services proposes to add Chapters 1155 and 5240 relating to intensive behavioral health services to Title 55 of the Pennsylvania Code. The proposed rulemaking was published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on August 4, 2018 and can be accessed at the following link:

Written comments, suggestions or objections regarding this proposed rulemaking may be submitted to the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services at the following address: Attention: Tara Pride, Bureau of Policy, Planning and Program Development, Commonwealth Towers, 11th Floor, P.O. Box 2675, 303 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105 or by email to during the 30-day public comment period which closes September 4, 2018.

A Call For Change is a publication that establishes a firm foundation for the Pennsylvania transformation to a recovery-oriented mental health system. It offers an understanding of how we have arrived at this time of recovery transformation, provides a concise definition of recovery, and further consideration of what a recovery-oriented system is, and is not.  This publication highlights the challenges we have yet to address and the need for us to engage in an open, honest discussion.

Other Information:

Community Support Program (CSP)
The Community Support Program helps to provide consumers, family members and professionals a forum to help shape the continued transformation of the mental health services in Pennsylvania into a recovery-oriented system. The CSP in Pennsylvania has developed into four regional committees which support the development of local committees and coalitions, all committees are comprised of mental health consumers, family members and professionals. Both the regional and local CSP committees provide a community-based avenue for CSP principles, education, information-sharing and for the collective input on major successes and concerns regarding community mental health services. Concerns and recommendations are then shared with the OMHSAS Adult Advisory Committee. To learn more about CSP and to find local contacts, visit the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers Association web site:

Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP)
The current public children's behavioral health system in Pennsylvania is based on the principles and framework developed more than 20 years ago through the Child and Adolescent Service System Program. This Introduction to CASSP describes the origins of CASSP in Pennsylvania, highlights current initiatives and services, and lists some basic children's behavioral health services.

Special Pharmacy Benefits Program for Mental Health (SPBP-MH)
The Special Pharmacy Benefits Program for Mental Health provides payment for certain atypical antipsychotic medications, in any form as prescribed, for eligible participants with behavioral health needs.

Positive Practices Resource Team
The Positive Practice Resource Team is a joint initiative between the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) and the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) to serve those individuals with a developmental disability who are demonstrating at-risk behavioral challenges and who the support team determines may be needing enhanced levels of support not readily known or available to them.

Alternatives to Coercive Techniques
Pennsylvania is joining the nation-wide movement to enhance trauma-informed care and services within residential facilities. Best practices, high quality programming, and well-trained staff are critical in providing care that reduces the need for the use of restraint, while ensuring the safety of all residents and staff. This Web site is being developed with the goal of providing technical assistance and resources to assist residential facilities in achieving the ultimate goal of eliminating the need for the use of coercive techniques in residential facilities.

Act 21
Act 21 became law on August 14, 2003 in response to increasing concerns about the release of a juvenile sex offender who had been determined to still present a high risk of danger to the community. The Act sets forth a process for identifying individuals about to turn 21 who may still be in need of further treatment before they return to their community. Act 21 provides a process for the civil commitment of these individuals to a program designed to provide specialized treatment.

Department of Human Services Child and Adolescent Medication Workgroup Report - January 2012
This report addresses various issues related to the use of psychotropic medication for children, identifies best practices and offers recommendations related to clinically-based prescribing practices and policy-based prescribing practices.

Related Links:

The Pennsylvania Network of Care is a web resource which provides mental health information and tools as well as service directories for every county in Pennsylvania

For more information on OMHSAS initiatives visit: