About the Department

The Erie County Department of Mental Health is comprised of two Divisions: the Division of Program Administration and the Division of Forensic Mental Health Services. The Department plans, administers and coordinates a countywide integrated system of comprehensive community based mental health, intellectual/developmental disabilites, and alcohol and substance abuse programs which provide adequate levels of quality service to individuals in need of care and treatment, or at risk of institutionalization. Services are provided on a contract basis by community based agencies, other County departments or directly by the Department's Forensic Mental Health Division.

The Department receives state aid reimbursement for a percentage of the direct cost of programs and administration. It also is the recipient of a number of State and Federal grants that are used to supplement the operating budget and provide mental health, alcoholism and substance abuse programs that, otherwise, could not be provided at the same level.


  • To direct a local comprehensive mental disability planning system;
  • To maximize state, federal, and voluntary support for programs;
  • To develop effective systems that assess and monitor the quality and effectiveness of care delivered by the mental disability programs;
  • To implement effective systems that monitor expenditures and assure the availability of funds at the lowest possible cost to the county;
  • To provide mental health services required by the criminal justice system and Family Court;
  • To maintain accounting systems and prepare fiscal reports in accordance with federal, state and local regulations;
  • To provide consultation to contractual agencies in the development of management practices consistent with sound business approaches in the not-for-profit sector;
  • To monitor the quality of care in contractual agency programs;
  • To assure coordination of mental health, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and alcohol and substance abuse services for Erie County residents;
  • To fulfill the County's legal obligations and responsibilities for the operation of the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program;
  • To develop standards and policies which promote coordination and integration of mental disability services with other human service needs of the mentally disabled;
  • To provide information, advice and recommendations to the County Executive and Legislature regarding the need for mental health and related services in Erie County and the most cost-effective means to address identified needs;
  • To assure timely and accurate submission of required state aid claims; and
  • To integrate State and Local systems of care.


The Erie County Department of Mental Health provides administrative leadership and ensures the coordination of a community based behavioral health system that is accessible, comprehensive, person centered and recovery focused.


The Erie County Department of Mental Health will empower stakeholders to access behavioral health services that promote hope, recovery and improved quality of life.


The Department will be guided by the following key values:

  • Promoting choice, hope and independence
  • Fostering practices that work
  • Providing training and educational opportunities
  • Advocating for parity and inclusion
  • Ensuring collaborative partnerships with diverse stakeholders
  • Delivering cultural competence