Accessing the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH)

A Guide for Parents and Guardians on How and When to Access Services for Children, Adolescents and Young Adults

Eligibility Criteria

The Department of Mental Health (DMH) provides services for disabled persons who meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • A qualifying mental disorder (axis 1) which are the disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) under the following categories such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, ADHD, schizophrenia, eating disorders, dissociative disorders and borderline personality disorder.
  • The mental, behavioral or emotional disorder must have lasted for or be expected to last for at least one year.
  • The disability is interfering with functioning in daily life.
  • There is no other way of meeting the service need i.e. limited income or insurance coverage.

Applying for Services

To apply for services:

  • Call the DMH supervisor, Debby Stames, at 781-401-9718 and/or
  • Complete a DMH application which can be downloaded from the web site at
  • Click on forms and print the appropriate service application.
    • Print several of the two way release forms for all past and current providers i.e. therapist, psychiatrist, hospitalizations, school contact, etc.

PLEASE NOTE: The process will be expedited if you send copies of any clinical reports, consultations, psychological testing, neuropsychological testing, academic testing, etc. with the eligibility application.

Send all of this information to:

Carly Sebastian
Eligibility Coordinator
Department of Mental Health
P.O. Box 288
Westborough , MA 01581

The eligibility coordinator will:

  • review all of the information
  • send the releases for additional information
  • speak to the parents and some of the collaterals. (In some cases she will meet with the child as well)

Parents may call the Eligibility Coordinator for a status on their application.

Once Services are Approved

Once a decision is made the case gets transferred to the DMH supervisor, Debby Stames, at the Canton site office, who will oversee the distribution of services.

Important points to remember when accessing DMH services:

  • Access to services depends on the availability of the particular service.
  • Many services have waitlists.
  • Short term services that address immediate needs may be provided while an eligibility application is pending.
  • Individuals are prioritized for services based on the urgency of their need.
  • Assignment of a case manager is not a prerequisite for receipt of any DMH services.
  • All services are voluntary.

DMH Services

Home based services for 3–6 months

Intensive in-home support and intervention for families for 3–6 months.

Adolescent Day Treatment

Lifeskills Center in Needham provides day services to adolescents who are experiencing crises which may have disrupted school and home life.

After-School Program

Choices is an after-school program for latency age children at the Watertown Boys and Girls Club three days per week.

Project Connect

A strength-based wraparound program designed to support families with emotionally disturbed children/adolescents to receive additional supports at home and in their community.

Short-term Residential

Community Intervention Program in Arlington provides a 45-day diagnostic program for adolescents in crisis who can not function at home.

Long-term Residential

Residential therapeutic program for children and adolescents who can not live at home and require a therapeutic school program in addition.

Young Adult Group Home

A group home for young adults ages 18–25 to develop independent living skills.

Young Adult Vocational Program

A day program to assist young adults age 16–25 in developing vocational training and employment.

Supported Education

A counselor will meet with young adults who are pursuing college and assist them with their search and advocate with colleges for accommodations as needed.

Case Management

A case manager will oversee assisting families in accessing benefits (Mass. Health, Social Security, Food Stamps) and make referrals for community and DMH funded services.

Disclaimer: Material on the William James INTERFACE Referral Service website is intended as general information. It is not a recommendation for treatment, nor should it be considered medical or mental health advice. The William James INTERFACE Referral Service urges families to discuss all information and questions related to medical or mental health care with a health care professional.