In response to President John F. Kennedy’s signing of the Community Mental Health Act in 1963, a group of five county mental health directors from Eugene, Bend, Oregon City, McMinnville and Medford, formed a 501(c) 3 in 1966 to create and support comprehensive community mental health centers across Oregon. The purpose was to address needs of individuals who had been ‘warehoused‘ in institutions and connect them back with their communities.
In 1980, the group changed its name to the Association of Community Mental Health Providers, representing both Community Mental Health Programs and Community Developmental Disabilities Programs. AOCMHP began its formal relationship with the Association of Oregon Counties in 1984. In 1993, the Board changed its tax exempt status to a 501(c) 6 trade association and became the Association of Community Mental Health Programs (AOCMHP). All 36 counties have been represented in AOCMHP for over four decades now, either through county departmental CMHPs or delegated not-for-profit CMHPs. One tribal CMHP, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, is also a long-standing member as well as Community Developmental Disabilities Programs that are operating independently from CMHPs.
As AOCMHP continues its core mission to advocate for community-based behavioral health and I/DD systems, it has expanded into coordinating mental health promotion, suicide prevention and advanced skills training programs for its members and other community-based system providers starting in 2015, and added the Alliance to Prevent Suicide under its umbrella in 2017. The training programs and the Alliance continue to grow and flourish to meet the needs of our members, their communities and the statewide network of suicide prevention advocates and practitioners.
VISION AND MISSION
We envision a future when mental illnesses, addictions and developmental disabilities are prevented or detected early, and individuals and families have access to effective treatments and supports to enable them to participate fully in their communities.
To advocate for the strengthening of local systems of care through partnership with local mental health authorities, community stakeholders, and state departments, ensuring equitable, effective and humane responses to improve the lives of people in our communities with mental illness, substance use disorders and intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families.
* “Local Mental Health Authority” is defined in Oregon statute as a board of county commissioners, a tribal council, or a regional authority made up of two or more boards of county commissioners, which is responsible for the planning and management of local mental health, addictions, and developmental disabilities programs. ORS 430.630.10