MA Department of Mental Health – Essex North


  • Overview of Organization and Services:
    The Department of Mental Health, as the State Mental Health Authority, assures and provides access to services and supports to meet the mental health needs of individuals of all ages, enabling them to live, work and participate in their communities. The Department establishes standards to ensure effective and culturally competent care to promote recovery. The Department sets policy, promotes self-determination, protects human rights and supports mental health training and research. This critical mission is accomplished by working in partnership with other state agencies, individuals, families, providers and communities.

    As the State Mental Health Authority, the Department of Mental Health (DMH) assures and provides access to services and supports that are person-centered and recovery-focused to meet the behavioral health needs of individuals of all ages, enabling them to live, work and fully participate as valuable, contributing members of our communities. The Department’s network provides services to approximately 21,000 individuals with severe and persistent mental illness across the Commonwealth, including children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbance and their families through a continuum of care. DMH is also statutorily responsible for admitting 8,000 to 9,000 forensically involved individuals to our hospitals who are referred from the courts for evaluation and aid in sentencing.

    The large majority of DMH clients (more than 90 percent) are served in the community. DMH’s Community First initiative has resulted in an expansion of community services such that we are able to rely much less heavily on institutional settings such as state hospitals. Advancement in our community service system means that more individuals are living and working in the community, contributing to the fabric of our society, as they experience recovery. While the majority of DMH clients are served in the community, there are some individuals (approximately 10%) whom will require inpatient services at any given time during the year.

  • Additional Info:
    The DMH structure is Area-based and operates in a way that recognizes the unique characteristics and needs of each community and the people who live in them. DMH is organized into five geographic Areas, each of which is managed by an Area Director. The Areas are: Metro Boston, Western Massachusetts, Central Massachusetts, Southeast and Northeast-Suburban.

    Each Area also has a full-time medical director, a half-time child psychiatrist, a director of community services, a director of child/adolescent services and a director of quality management and is further subdivided into local service sites. There are 28 DMH Site Offices statewide, each of which is overseen by a Site Director. Site Offices provide case management and work with an integrated system of state and vendor-operated adult and child/adolescent mental health services.


  • Demographics Served:
    Adults: 19+, Children: 12 and under, Families, Seniors: 60+, Youth: 13-18
  • City/Towns Served:
    Amesbury, Newbury (incl. Byfield), Newburyport, Rowley, Salisbury, West Newbury
  • Types of Services Provided:
    Behavioral Health