Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services,

A Healthcare Service Agency







At a Glance


THOMAS A. KIRK, Jr., Ph.D., Commissioner

Patricia A. Rehmer, MSN Deputy Commissioner

Peter Rockholz, MSSW Deputy Commissioner

Kenneth Marcus, M.D., Medical Director

Established - 1995 [1]

Statutory authority - CGS Sec. 17a-450

Central office - 410 Capitol Avenue, 4th Floor,

P.O. Box 341431,

Hartford, CT 06134

Number of employees (full- and part-time) - 4,340

Recurring operating expenses - $687,081,398

Organizational structure - The organizational structure of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) includes the Offices of the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners, Medical Director, Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Affirmative Action, Education/Training, Evaluation/Quality Management and Improvement, Forensic Services, Healthcare Finance, Healthcare Systems, Human Resources, Information Systems, Legal/Ethics Compliance, Legislation and Policy, Multicultural Affairs, Planning Analysis/Support, Prevention, Recovery Community Affairs, Safety Services, Statewide Services, and Young Adult Services. 



[1]Merging the former Department of Mental Health (established 1953) with the Addiction Services component of the Department of Public Health and Addiction Services.




DMHAS is a healthcare service agency responsible for health promotion, and the prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders in Connecticut. The single overarching goal of DMHAS is promoting and achieving a quality-focused, culturally responsive, and recovery-oriented system of care. The mission of DMHAS is to improve the quality of life for Connecticut residents by providing an integrated network of comprehensive, effective and efficient mental health and addiction services that foster self-sufficiency, dignity and respect. 


Statutory Responsibility

     While DMHAS' prevention and health promotion services serve all Connecticut citizens, its mandate is to serve adults (18 years and over) with mental health and/or substance use disorders, who lack the financial means to obtain such services on their own. DMHAS also provides collaborative programs for individuals with special needs, such as persons with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, people in the criminal justice system, those with problem gambling disorders, pregnant women with substance use disorders, persons with traumatic brain injury or hearing impairment, and young adult populations transitioning out of the Department of Children and Families.


Public Service

     DMHAS continually works to enhance the effectiveness of our services, including ongoing compliance with the highest national standards of behavioral healthcare through accreditation by the Joint Commission across all its state-operated facilities. DMHAS’ Division of Healthcare Systems is charged with integrating mental health and addiction services, enhancing service access and continuity of care, and ensuring quality service delivery and compliance with applicable state and federal regulations. Through its five regional teams, Healthcare Systems focuses on quality improvement, through on-site monitoring visits to contracted treatment agencies, desk audits of compliance with utilization and outcome/performance measures, and focus groups with individuals served. Quality and performance is also measured through the DMHAS Division of Evaluation, Quality Management, and Improvement. The division is charged with establishing performance measures, collecting and reviewing performance data, and ensuring annual consumer satisfaction surveys are completed.


Improvements/Achievements 2007-08

     In addition to the Department’s overarching goal of building a Value-Driven, Recovery-Oriented System of Care, DMHAS measures its accomplishments in terms of progress made toward achievement of its four targeted goals.  Each of the goals are presented below, followed by a few examples of the many initiatives DMHAS is pursuing to fulfill these goals.


1.      Improved Service System Providing a Comprehensive Array of Services that Promote Health, Economic Opportunity, Social Inclusion and Sustain Stability in Individuals’ Lives.


Employment Services. Assisted 9,427 individuals in recovery to become employed; implemented an innovative addictions employment model in partnership with the Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center and the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery; expanded the evidencebased supported employment practice to six (6) sites, serving over 969 individuals with significant barriers to employment; and expanded training and technical assistance to seven (7) Women's Specialty Program's around Supported Employment and Education with goals of promoting and supporting employment and education services.


Housing Services. Created 235 supportive housing units for homeless individuals with mental health and substance use disorders; expanded network of certified sober houses to 85; awarded $43M capital funding to not-for-profit agencies through Next Step Supportive Housing Initiative to reduce homelessness among people with mental health and substance use disorders; and granted $26.4M from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to combat homelessness.


Ease System Gridlock/Alternative to Hospitalization (ATH) Programs. Expanded ATH, which diverts individuals with substance use disorders who present in emergency departments, to a total of 11 hospitals statewide. ATH is an example of DMHAS’ reinvestment strategy, which identifies innovative and cost-effective approaches and reinvests savings to further support a recovery-oriented system of care; and partnered with Hartford hospitals and local mental health authorities to reduce emergency room gridlock.


Military Support Program (MSP). Initiated MSP in March 2007 to provide outpatient services to soldiers and their families through a statewide panel of 225 licensed clinicians; a total of 461 individuals (63% soldiers; 37% family members) have accessed the program.

Health Promotion and Wellness. Implemented a smoke-free campus, developed a screening tool for chronic medical issues, and collaborated with 3 healthcare clinics to improve wellness and access to primary care for persons at DMHAS’ CT Mental Health Center.


Alternative to Incarceration/Reduction in Recidivism. Continued training law enforcement on dealing effectively with persons with psychiatric disorders, with 400 officers from 47 departments trained since 2004; implemented a unique program at seven (7) sites in collaboration with the Judicial Branch and the Department of Correction that combines behavioral health services and justice agency supervision to reduce incarceration for adults with psychiatric disorders; instituted the Hartford Family Court Connection, a project linking Family Court referrals to treatment; and expanded to New Haven the Jail Diversion program for women who have psychiatric consequences of trauma.


2.      Quality of Care ManagementManaging by Outcomes, Expanding Continuing Care Recovery and Effective Service Models.


Consumer Satisfaction. Received 24,187 completed consumer surveys indicating that the majority of individuals are satisfied with services provided or funded by DMHAS.


Co-Occurring Initiative. Developed Co-Occurring Enhanced Guidelines; funded two (2) non-profit service providers to implement two (2) new 20-bed Co-Occurring Enhanced Residential Programs; credentialed 5 Co-Occurring Enhanced Intensive Outpatient Programs; and supported progress on implementation plans, based on evidence-based practices for individuals with co-occurring disorders, at 22 state-operated and private non-profit agencies.


Reduction in Use of Restraints/Seclusion. Reduced use of restraints/seclusion at DMHAS-operated inpatient facilities at or better than national standards; and awarded a three-year, $612K federal Center for Mental Health Services’ Restraint and Seclusion Grant to further reduce use of restraint and seclusion among young adults, ages 18-25, with serious mental illness at DMHAS’ Connecticut Valley and Cedarcrest Hospitals.


Prevention and Early Intervention. Recognized by the Northeast Center for Application of Prevention Technologies for the inclusion of two (2) promising problem gambling prevention programs in the National Registry for Evidence-based Programs/Practices; developed a comprehensive, data-driven strategic plan for prevention that informs funding, interagency collaborators, and leads to measurable outcomes; convened presidents/leaders from 35 campuses across Connecticut to address high-risk drinking among college students; and co-chaired the Public Health Subcommittee of the Governor’s Teen Driving Taskforce that introduced legislation to increase teen driver safety.


3.      Workforce and Organizational Effectiveness Investing in People who Provide Consumer-friendly, High Quality Services.


Greater Inclusion of Individuals in Recovery. Awarded federal Mental Health Transformation funds to increase the number of consumers/persons in recovery in the behavioral health workforce; facilitated the Recovery Speaks Program at DMHAS’ CT Valley Hospital, where persons with lived experience of psychiatric or substance use disorders serve as educators to undergraduate and graduate students; and developed an innovative credit-bearing Peer Training course with Housatonic Community College in which 19 individuals in recovery were enrolled.


Ongoing Enhancements at DMHAS’ Connecticut Valley Hospital. Implemented a facility-wide person-centered, evidence-based instrument to facilitate recovery-based treatment; trained 1,523 clinical/non-clinical staff on suicide prevention and suicide risk assessment/ management; developed an electronic mechanism to monitor quality of care; and implemented a facility-wide skills training program designed to teach individuals the skills needed to live successfully in the community.


4.      Resource BaseCreating a Resource Base to Support Service Goals, Expansions and Fiscally Sound Investments in Workforce, Technology and Information Through Emphasis on Collaboration and Excellence in Communication.


Collaborations and Partnerships. DMHAS takes pride in the many interagency initiatives and public/private and academic collaborations that improve care for thousands of people in Connecticut. Examples include: partnered with the Dept. of Social Services, the Dept. of Developmental Services, the Office of Workforce Competitiveness and the Early Childhood Education Cabinet to initiate a pilot for interagency data sharing; continued partnership with 4 state agencies, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, and the Corporation for Supportive Housing to reduce homelessness; collaborated with Dept. of Social Services to develop a comprehensive nursing home diversion program for persons who are at-risk of nursing home placement; partnered with the Dept. of Public Health on a two-day Diabetes and Depression workshop for primary care clinicians; collaborated with American Red Cross, local officials, and other state agencies in responding to 120 individuals/families displaced by the Norwich apartment fire; and provided training on Motivational Interviewing and Recovery to Dept. of Children and Families and service provider staff to more effectively intervene with parents presenting with substance use disorders. Additional collaborations can be found on the DMHAS website at


Access to Recovery (ATR). Awarded a 3-year, $14.5M federal ATR grant to expand continuum of clinical and recovery supports to include Buprenorphine, co-occurring enhanced intensive outpatient, and clinical recovery check-ups – case management, housing, employment, transportation, and peer- and faith-based supports.


Grants Development. Partnered with state agencies, providers, recovery communities, and academics in developing $15M in new proposals currently pending federal review; and awarded $1.3M from the federal Mental Health Transformation Grant to state/local government, private non-profit and Individual in Recovery, Youth and Family organizations to implement transformative initiatives.


Information Systems. Awarded $3.8M state bond funds for technology upgrades to DMHAS’ state-operated and not-for-profit service provider data information systems.


Recovery Management System (RMS). Implemented RMS at DMHAS’ Connecticut Valley Hospital, an electronic system that provides person-centered, recovery-oriented treatment planning that is driven by a person's goals.


Information Reported as Required by State Statute

Affirmative Action Annual Plan—DMHAS received approval to develop a single Affirmative Action plan that covers its central office and each of its divisions/facilities.