Public Policy Advocacy

The District of Columbia Behavioral Health Association serves as a leading voice for organizations that provide mental health or addiction services for District residents. Our policy work includes active dialogue with officials and decision-makers in the executive branch of District government, advocacy to inform the Council of the District of Columbia as it carries out its legislative and oversight activities, and work with advisory councils, professional licensing boards, and others who shape the direction of District government.

We also maintain a close working relationship with federal behavioral health advocates through our role as the District's affiliate of the National Council for Behavioral Health. Work with the National Council keeps us up to date on the latest insights about changes to federal policy that have an impact on mental health or addiction services and about the activities of fellow associations working on State and municipal policy across the United States.

“We rely on the DCBHA to advocate on our behalf for policy change, for budgets and to keep client/consumer quality care at the forefront for the District’s systems of care. Without the DCBHA, many more behavioral health agencies would have likely closed because DCBHA is relentless to have providers’ needs met so that providers can meet clients’ needs. On our own, we would have a tiny advocacy voice if we had the time to have a public voice at all. DCBHA stays on top of all relevant information and feeds it to providers in a succinct and easy to understand way – we could never do that without them.

The DCBHA also provides a network for agencies to work together, develop relationships and build collaborative partnerships. Without it none of us would have the depth of understanding of services and potential to learn from each other.” – Ann Chauvin, Executive Director, Woodley House

Statement on the Continuing Importance of the Department of Behavioral Health

The District of Columbia Behavioral Health Association is aware of speculation that the Department of Behavioral Health could be eliminated and opposes any such effort. Alternative options overlook weaknesses of those other options and also times that the Department of Behavioral Health itself has been better than currently. At a time when bold behavioral health leadership is needed, elimination of a cabinet-level agency and a cabinet-level voice for people with mental illness or addictions is a step in the wrong direction.

Statement Regarding Continuing Importance of DBH 1.25.2019.pdf

Statement on the Next Director of the Department of Behavioral Health

The District of Columbia Behavioral Health Association recognizes the value of strong cabinet-level leadership to ensure that District residents with mental illness or substance use disorders are engaged in high-quality, whole-person care. As the mayor searches for a new leader for the Department of Behavioral Health, the association issued the below statement.

DCBHA DBH Director Search Recommendations 12.07.2018.pdf

Statement on the Department of Behavioral Health 2020 Budget

The District of Columbia has a special responsibility for its residents with serious emotional disturbances, serious mental illness, and chronic addictions and must be diligent in ensuring appropriate engagement in high-quality, whole-person care for those with any mental illness or substance use disorder. Our recommendations for the Department of Behavioral Health 2020 budget reflect the spending we believe is needed to make progress toward timely, high-quality services across the spectrum of prevention, early intervention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services.

DCBHA FY '20 DBH Budget Recommendations 10.16.2018.pdf

Current Issues

As issues emerge, the District of Columbia Behavioral Health Association shares information and provides input to support District residents and community-based provider organizations. Please don't hesitate to contact us by phone at 202-661-3536 or by email at dcbehavioralhealth@gmail.com with any questions about current issues.