Introduction to the Division of Behavioral Health


Core Service & Functions



Improved quality of life through the right service to the right person at the right time


To manage an integrated and comprehensive behavioral health system based on sound policy effective practices and open partnerships

Core Service

The central purpose of the Division is to provide a continuum of statewide behavioral health (mental health and substance use disorder) services ranging from prevention, screening, and brief intervention to acute psychiatric care. 

Core Functions

  1. Monitoring and managing the use of public funds to provide accessible, efficient and effective behavioral health prevention and treatment services for Alaskans.
  2. Developing regulations and policies that govern the planning and implementation of services and supports for people who need behavioral health services.
  3. Promoting program standards, utilization management measures, quality requirements, provider performance and client outcomes.


How Much Did We Do?
How Well Did We Do It?
Is Anyone Better Off?

Alaskans in Need

Behavioral health is the foundation of psychological wellbeing and social functioning. Behavioral health is fundamental for the well-being of individuals throughout the lifespan and for the well-being of the entire community.  It exerts a major effect on relationships, education, productivity and overall quality of life.  Behavioral health problems are characterized by the extent to which they disrupt an individual’s ability to function. In fact, the inability to learn, work, or participate fully in life is one of the hallmarks of having a mental illness or substance abuse addiction.

The impact of poor behavioral health is not always visually evident, and often difficult to understand. For example major depression is equivalent in burden to blindness or paraplegia. Active psychosis seen in schizophrenia is equal in disability burden to quadriplegia. Relapse of addiction is equal in course and impact to the disease relapse of cancer.

Treatment is very successful: depression (>80%), panic disorder (70-90%), Schizophrenia (60%). Again, as a point of comparison, heart disease has a treatment success rate of 45-50%.

The Division of Behavioral Health has a commitment to improve the quality life of Alaskans through the right service to the right person at the right time. The Behavioral Health Continuum of Care represents the range of services available to citizens of Alaska, according to their presenting need. Each individual component fulfills an essential role and contributes to the overall effectiveness of the continuum of care.

The continuum of care represents a commitment to mitigating risk of behavioral health with prevention and early intervention, insuring Alaskans are served effectively at the lowest level of care possible, while recognizing that the most acute and chronic conditions require a corresponding increased level of services, supports and resources.


Behavioral Health is Essential to Health
Prevention Works
People Recover
Treatment is Effective