Lancaster County Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (BH/DS) is the tax-funded agency mandated by state and federal law to provide services to persons with mental illness or intellectual disability. We also provide services to children from birth to age 3 with developmental disabilities.
BH/DS was established in 1966. It is regulated by the state Office of Mental Health and Substances Abuse Services (OMHSAS), the State Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), and the State Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) under the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
We are funded by State, Federal, and County dollars. Some of our services, such as case management and supports coordination, cost nothing to those receiving these services. Some services require a co-pay based on income. Early Intervention is an entitlement and families are not required to pay for those services.
Lancaster County Mental Health/Intellectual Disability/Early Intervention serves persons with intellectual disability, persons who have a serious and persistent mental illness and, in the Early Intervention Unit, children from birth to age three with developmental disabilities.
Major mental illnesses include major depression, bipolar disorder (manic-depression), anxiety disorders such as panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia. Many forms of mental illness can be treated by psychotherapy and medication, but one of the stumbling blocks to treatment is the stigma surrounding mental illness. In fact, people with a mental illness are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities.
Intellectual disability is quite different from mental illness and totally unrelated. Intellectual disability is a slowing down, a developmental delay that usually occurs at or near birth. Intellectual disability can be caused by prenatal factors, such as infections, metabolic disorders, Rh blood factor incompatibility, or chromosome abnormality. Intellectual disability can also be caused by diseases and accidents in childhood. It is a lifelong condition; there is no cure.
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