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Behavioral Health

County hosts High Desert meeting to help those impacted by the Las Vegas shooting

The Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) invites individuals and families impacted by the Las Vegas shooting to attend a supportive, no-cost mental health wellness meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Victor Valley Behavioral Health Clinic, 12625 Hesperia Road in Victorville.

The meeting will be facilitated by licensed clinical therapists trained in trauma counseling. The meeting will support attendees and allow them to listen to and share their experiences related to the shooting in a safe, comfortable group setting. One-on-one counseling services will also be available.

Attendees will also be provided with educational resources and will be aided in navigating one’s own health care services to promote a healthy adjustment to normalcy and wellness. All services will be offered free of charge and insurance is not needed.

For more information, please call the Victor Valley Behavioral Health Clinic at (760) 995-8300.

DBH, through this community resource, is helping to achieve the Countywide Vision by providing behavioral health services and ensuring residents have the resources they need to attain wellness, recovery and resilience in the community. Information on the Countywide Vision and on DBH can be found at


Mental health drop-in clinic to offer support in response to Las Vegas shooting

The San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) will open a temporary, one-day no cost mental health wellness drop-in center to assist any San Bernardino County resident experiencing increased emotional and mental distress as result of the Las Vegas shooting.

The mental health drop-in center will be located at DBH’s Mariposa Clinic, 2940 Inland Empire Blvd., in Ontario and will be open on Saturday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Confidential services will be offered free of charge and insurance is not needed. Clinic phone lines will also be staffed with crisis counselors for individuals who prefer to call in for mental health support.

“DBH understands that individuals who receive immediate access to professional mental health services after a traumatic experience healthier mental adjustments post trauma,” said DBH Director Veronica Kelley. “DBH is offering this resource to our community to promote individual and collective healing and wellness for all affected by this tragic event.”

The temporary drop-in center will provide attendees and callers with services, tools and resources designed to support a healthy adjustment to normalcy and wellness. Services will include individual private trauma counseling with a mental health professional, case management services to aid in navigating one’s own health care services and educational information on how to cope with traumatic events.

For more information on the mental health wellness drop-in center, please call DBH’s Mariposa Clinic at (909) 458-1350.

DBH, through this community resource, is supporting the Countywide Vision by providing behavioral health services and ensuring residents have the resources they need to promote wellness, recovery and resilience in the community. Information on the Countywide Vision and on DBH can be found at

Brilliant Behavioral Health programs earn top honors

Veronica Kelley, Department of Behavioral Health Director and NACo President Brian Desloge

A Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) program that encourages and empowers clients to conduct trainings and provide support to their peers was one of a hundred nationwide county programs selected by the National Association of Counties (NACo) as a 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work. This distinction was awarded to select programs who received a 2017 NACo Achievement Award and illustrated the top innovations in county government, including increased quality of life for its residents.

In total, DBH received two of the 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work distinctions; one for its Group Facilitator Training and another for Connections. DBH’s Group Facilitator Training provides engaging workshops to empower clients with leadership skills, enhanced self-esteem and the opportunity to become class facilitators themselves. Connections serves as a centralized resource hub for behavioral health clients, connecting them with additional supportive services within DBH and the community, supporting holistic health care.

The San Bernardino County Public Defender and San Bernardino County Probation Department also each received a 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work distinction for their programs developed in collaboration with DBH.  Public Defender’s Everyone SWIMS (Self Sufficient, Well-Being, In House, Mental Health, Services) program addresses the unnecessary hospitalization and incarceration of individuals with psychological distress and mental disorders, while Probation’s Custody to Community program provides supportive services to mentally ill and medically fragile offenders through coordination of services during the re-entry process from State and local custody to the community, effectively reducing homelessness and recidivism rates.

Each of the 100 Brilliant Ideas entries were selected from the top 2017 NACo Achievement Awards and according to NACo President Bryan Desloge, “can serve as examples for counties across the country.” Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Award Program is designed to recognize innovative county government programs. This year, DBH was awarded a total of six Achievement Awards ranging in category from children and youth, public safety, human services and volunteerism.

“DBH strives to be innovators in the field of behavioral health by designing services that reflect local needs and nationwide trends,” said DBH Director Veronica Kelley. “This award encourages our resolve to provide progressive and effective behavioral health care to the San Bernardino County community.”

DBH, through these recognitions, is supporting the Countywide Vision by providing behavioral health services that promote wellness, recovery and resilience in the community. Information on the Countywide Vision and on DBH can be found at

New director to lead Behavioral Health Department

Veronica KelleyThe Board of Supervisors on Tuesday appointed Assistant Behavioral Health Director Veronica Kelley to serve as department director effective Oct. 15, the same date current Director CaSonya Thomas begins her new board-appointed position as assistant executive officer in charge of Human Services.

Kelley, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, began her career with County Behavioral Health in 2009 as the department’s cultural competency officer, managing the Office of Cultural Competence and Ethnic Services, the Office of Prevention and Early Intervention and the Office of Innovation. She was deputy director over Regional Operations and Alcohol & Drug Services, and in 2013, became assistant director for the department.

“Veronica is a highly qualified professional who has the board’s full faith and confidence,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Her appointment demonstrates that the county’s pool of executive talent is strong and deep. It also demonstrates the board’s commitment to community health, well-being, and public safety.”

“It is with great excitement that I accept the position of director of Behavioral Health,” said Kelley. “In my position as assistant director, our mission of wellness, recovery and resilience is brought to life by the actions of our staff each and every day as they serve clients, fellow departments, community partners and the community at large. As director, I will continue our focus on this mission and provide high-quality behavioral health services through collaborative efforts, partnerships and transparency.  I am proud and honored by the continued opportunity to serve.”

“Throughout her career with the department, Veronica’s expertise and proficiency has greatly contributed to DBH’s mission of providing accessible and effective behavioral health services, supporting the countywide vision of creating a county in which those who reside and invest can prosper and achieve well-being,” said current Director Thomas. “I support her appointment by the Board of Supervisors and have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead the department and the valuable services it provides to the community.”

Kelley earned a master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Child Development from Mount Saint Mary’s University.  She is also a member of the Governing Board for the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California serving as the Co-Chair for the Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Committee. Kelley is also a professor at Mount Saint Mary’s, teaching in the undergraduate Social Work/Sociology/Gerontology and Film Department and as an adjunct faculty member in the MSW Program at the Loma Linda University Department of Social Work and Social Ecology.

Board appoints CaSonya Thomas to lead Human Services

CaSonya_Thomas_PhotoA director with 25 years of experience in meeting the social service and mental health needs of San Bernardino County residents was appointed on Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors to lead County Human Services.

CaSonya Thomas, director of the Department of Behavioral Health, will succeed Linda Haugan, who is retiring as Assistant Executive Officer of Human Services on Oct. 15 after more than 35 years of service to the County.

Haugan has spent the past 11 years as head of Human Services, a County agency that includes eight departments, more than 6,000 employees, and a $1.9 billion annual budget. Both Haugan and Thomas began their careers in what is now known as the Transitional Assistance Department as eligibility workers, an entry-level position in County Government. Thomas began her career in 1991.

Their careers illustrate the County’s successful efforts – mandated by the Board of Supervisors – to identify and develop talent from within the County organization, and ensure the County maintains a bench of qualified managers and executives to promote when vacancies occur. This practice will allow a nearly three-month transition for Thomas to work closely with Haugan before assuming her new role.

“It is an honor to receive this appointment, which comes with a tremendous responsibility to the people of San Bernardino County,” Thomas said. “Each day, Human Services changes lives through a number of programs and services, and we will remain committed to our Countywide Vision to build healthier communities by strengthening individuals and families, enhancing quality of life and valuing people.”

Thomas has held a number of positions within Human Services over the course of her 25-year County career, including Director of Behavioral Health and executive and management positions within Human Services. Under Thomas’ leadership, Behavioral Health played a key role in the County’s efforts to assist the survivors of the Dec. 2, 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino and the families of those who died.

“CaSonya Thomas is an outstanding employee and an asset to the county. As the newly appointed Assistant Executive Officer for Human Services, Ms. Thomas will bring professionalism and expertise that will continue to strengthen the County of San Bernardino,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman and Third District Supervisor James Ramos.

“CaSonya has proven herself as a successful and well-qualified leader for this position. Her experience, hard work and professionalism will serve our residents and the County well,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman and First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood.

“It was a privilege to appoint Ms. Thomas as the Director of the Department of Behavioral Health in 2012, and I am thrilled to now support her appointment as the Assistant Executive Officer for Human Services,” said Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales. “I am so pleased to see her succeed and I have no doubt she’ll continue to do a remarkable job.”

“CaSonya has consistently demonstrated her commitment to the well-being of all county residents,” said Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford. “Her intelligence, compassion and creativity are perfectly suited to the challenges we face.”

Haugan assumed the reins of Human Services in July 2005 after an already-notable career that included the implementation of the landmark C-IV Statewide Automated Welfare System. Her first order of business as Human Services chief was to successfully and dramatically reduce the County’s food stamp error rate.

Throughout her tenure, Haugan has fostered collaboration between Human Services departments to improve services to the public, a practice that has made the County a consistent leader in winning national and state awards for innovative and effective programs.

“I have had the good fortune of working with many talented people who carry out their public service mission with passion and intelligence. That’s why I feel I am leaving Human Services in a very good state and in very good hands,” Haugan said.

Thomas has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a post-graduate degree in public administration, both from California State University, San Bernardino. She is also certified in healthcare compliance by the national Health Care Compliance Association.

Thomas serves as president-elect to the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California (CBHDA), whose goals include advocating and developing public policy agendas that support access to necessary quality services that promote behavioral health and wellness, and resiliency and recovery in communities. She also is co-chair of the CBHDA Cultural Competence, Equity and Social Justice Committee.

Human Services departments, divisions and offices include Aging and Adult Services, Animal Care and Control, Behavioral Health, Child Support Services, Children and Family Services, Children’s Network, Environmental Health Services, Homeless Services, Preschool Services, Public Health, Transitional Assistance and Veterans Affairs.

Volunteers needed for 2016 Homeless Point-In-Time Count

Homeless PersonVolunteers are needed for the 2016 Point in Time Count. This count/survey will help determine funding for homeless services in San Bernardino County and help The San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership understand the regional service needs of our homeless population.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 from 6 to 10 a.m., and volunteers are needed throughout the county.

Go to for more information and to register to volunteer.

For more information and to sign-up to participate in San Bernardino County 2016 Point-in-Time Homeless Count and Survey contact one of the following individuals:

Christy Hamilton, County of San Bernardino,

Michele Bletcher, County of San Bernardino,

Click here for more details.

Donate gift cards for youth and make a wish come true

Giving Tree 2015_ExternalSan Bernardino County’s 2015 Giving Tree Campaign for Transitional Age Youth is underway and donated gift cards for young people in need are being accepted through Monday, Dec. 14.

Make a difference in the life of a Transitional Age Youth this holiday season by purchasing gift cards for participating youth.

The Department of Behavioral Health provides services to transitional aged youth ages 16 to 25 who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless who have been living in foster care, group homes and other placements.

The youth have listed their holiday wishes and are depending on the kindness of others. For some, this is the only gift they receive for the holidays.

To donate, request a wish from the Transitional Age Youth Holiday Wish Box by email to Roxanne De Hay or call (909) 387-7192 (7-1-1 for TTY users). Request a wish in person at the TAY Center, 780 E. Gilbert Street in San Bernardino.

Only gift cards are accepted. Click here for more information.

Summit to share best practices to end homelessness

Homeless PersonThe San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership (SBCHP), in collaboration with the Department of Behavioral Health Office of Homeless Services, is hosting their 9th Annual Homeless Summit to inform stakeholders and community members of the current and future efforts that have been and will be made to address the issue of homelessness in San Bernardino County.

The Homeless Summit will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Ontario Convention Center, 2000 East Convention Center Way, in Ontario. The summit is free of charge to attendees.

“The County of San Bernardino is on track to completely eliminate veteran homelessness by the end of this year.  In addition, we are committed to ending chronic homelessness for children and families once and for all. The Homeless Summit will showcase our countywide approach to ending homelessness, and ultimately improving quality of life in every one of our communities,” said Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who is also chair of the Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Guest speakers will include: Tom Hernandez, Office of Homeless Services; Sharon Green, Victor Valley Family Resource Center; Theodore “Ted” Alejandre, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools; Amy Sawyer, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH); and Philip Mangano, American Round Table to Abolish Homelessness. Gonzales will make closing remarks.

Interested individuals can learn more about the Homeless Summit or register to attend by visiting or by calling Deanna Luttrell at (909) 386-8225 (7-1-1 for TTY users.)

The SBCHP works to develop countywide public and private partnerships and to coordinate services and resources to end homelessness in San Bernardino County. Through this, SBCHP is helping to achieve the Countywide Vision by working to create a sustainable system of community health, public safety, and housing. Information on the Countywide Vision, the San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership and the Department of Behavioral Health can be found at

Public invited to provide feedback on veteran housing project

feedbackThe San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) invites members of the community, especially veterans, to review and provide feedback on the Liberty Lane Veteran Housing project, a Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Housing Program developed to provide permanent supportive housing for veterans with serious mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The plan will be posted for review and public comment for 30 days from Oct. 15 to Nov. 14 at under the announcements heading.

The California Housing Finance Agency and the California Department of Health Care Services have jointly allocated approximately $20 million in funds to DBH for this MHSA Housing Program. These funds will be used in the development of permanent supportive housing for veterans with serious mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The project is proposed for development by A Community of Friends.

The Mental Health Services Act, Proposition 63, was passed by California voters in November 2004 and went into effect January 2005.  The Act is funded by a 1 percent surcharge on personal income of more than $1 million per year.

For additional information, please contact Douglas Fazekas, Housing and Employment Program Administrative Manager, at (909) 421-9451.

DBH, through MHSA, is supporting the Countywide Vision by providing resources to promote wellness, recovery and resiliency in the community. Information on the Countywide Vision and the Department of Behavioral Health can be found at

Project Connect event today for homeless and low-income families

Upland 2015 PROJECT CONNECT Flyer PIO rev  7 15 15 (4)The San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership and Upland Homeless Stakeholders invite homeless and low-income families to attend Upland Project Connect today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Upland Project Connect is a free resource event which will be held at Upland Memorial Park in the Attwood picnic area along Foothill Boulevard between Hospital Park Way and Grove.

Complimentary lunch will be provided for the first 400 participants.

Free on site services, resources and referrals for low income individuals and families may include:
 Medical screenings
 Hygiene kits
 Child care information and services
 Senior Services
 Employment services
 Transitional Assistance Department
 Veteran’s Services
 Legal Services
 Other local resources and more

For more information, interpretation requests or disability related accommodations, please contact: Michele Bletcher at (909) 386-8231,, dial 2-1-1 or 7-1-1 for TTY users.

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