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Behavioral Health

ODHH Resources

Behavioral Health

Doctor sitting with a patient

Behavioral Health addresses a wide range of services including mental health, addiction
and developmental disabilities. In Maryland, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH)
has a special division devoted to behavioral health services. This division includes three departments
including the Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA), the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration (ADAA)
and the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA). By including all three of these departments in
one Division, DHMH has recognized that individuals often need support in more than one way. By
uniting these administrations DHMH will strengthen the department’s ability to focus on Maryland
residents who suffer from co-occurring disorders – many of whom find themselves involved in the legal
system — and will help DHMH address the challenges it faces in coordinating the delivery of health care

For Emergencies – please visit our Crisis Services Resource Page

Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA)

What is Mental Illness?

Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to
relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental
illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the
ordinary demands of life.

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive
compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and
borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.

Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. Mental illnesses are
not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are
treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their
symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.

In addition to medication treatment, psychosocial treatment such as cognitive behavioral
therapy, interpersonal therapy, peer support groups and other community services can also be components of a treatment plan and that assist with recovery. The availability of transportation, diet, exercise, sleep, friends and meaningful paid or volunteer activities contribute to overall
health and wellness, including mental illness recovery.

Alcohol and Drug Administration (ADAA)

What is Addiction?


Addiction is a chronic, but treatable, brain disorder. People who are addicted cannot control their need for alcohol or other drugs, even in the face of negative health, social or legal consequences. This lack of control is the result of alcohol- or drug-induced changes in the brain. Those changes, in turn, cause behavior changes.

Addiction grows more serious over time. Substance use disorders travel along a continuum.
This progression can be measured by the amount, frequency and context of a person’s
substance use. As their illness deepens, addicted people need more alcohol or other drugs;
they may use more often, and use in situations they never imagined when they first began to
drink or take drugs. The illness becomes harder to treat and the related health problems, such
as organ disease, become worse.

Addiction treatments are designed to do more than simply reduce or remove alcohol or drug use
– they focus on getting addicted people to change their lifestyle and even their core life values
as a way of preventing return of the problems.

Most addicted people must work hard to protect their recovery. They need to participate in
therapy or support groups and to call upon others – friends or family members – for support.
Twelve-step programs can be an essential source of ongoing assistance for people working to
maintain long-term recovery.

Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA)

What is a Developmental Disability?

Person in a wheelchair playing basketball

A developmental disability is a severe, chronic disability that begins any time from birth through age 21 and is expected to last for a lifetime. Developmental disabilities may be cognitive, physical, or a combination of both. While not always visible, these disabilities can result in serious limitations in everyday activities of life, including self-care, communication, learning, mobility, or being able to work or live independently. Such disabilities are almost sure to result in a lifetime of dependence on publicly funded services, unless families receive sufficient support, children receive appropriate education, and adults receive appropriate services that enable them to live and work in their local communities.

Support services are provided by government agencies, non-governmental agencies and by private sector providers. Support services are based in a theory that self-determination, independence and community inclusion are priorities for all people.  There also are a number of non-profit agencies dedicated to supporting people with developmental disabilities and their families that facilitate community inclusion and participation in all aspects of life.


Baltimore Medical System, Inc. Highlandtown Healthy Living Center

Network Of Care
Value Of Options

Resource Guide: Mental Health Services
American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association (ADARA)
Alternative Solutions Center, Resources
Arundel Lodge, Inc.
Family Service Foundation, Inc.
Jewish Family Services
Mental Hygiene Administration
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
People Encouraging People, Inc.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

For Emergencies – please visit our Crisis Services Resource Page

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration
Deaf Addiction Services at Maryland
Deaf Off Drugs and Alcohol
Directory of Services: Substance Abuse
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Developmental Disabilities
Administration on Developmental Disabilities
Community Support Services for the Deaf
Deaf Shalom Zone
Developmental Disabilities Administration

Developmental Disabilities Council

Directory of Services: Developmental Disabilities
Family Service Foundation, Inc.
The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000

Fact Sheets

Resource Guide: Mental Health Services

Mental Health
Alternative Solutions Center, Frequently Asked Questions
SAMSHA Co-Occurring Center for Excellence

DASAM – Treatment Options
SAMSHA Co-Occurring Center for Excellence

Developmental Disabilities
Administration on Developmental Disabilities
Coping With Disaster: Helping Children With Cognitive Disabilities
The Olmstead Decision

Videos and VLogs

Deaf Independent Living Association
Alternative Solutions Center, Vlog/Blogs
Deaf Off Drugs and Alcohol
CDC Video on Early Recognition of Developmental Disabilities