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Department of Mental Health



The mission of the Department of Mental Health is to advance understanding of mental and behavioral disorders, to develop, implement, and evaluate methods to prevent and control these disorders, and to promote mental health in the population.


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We are committed to building a Department in which faculty, staff, students, and post-doctoral fellows work collaboratively to: [1] advance scholarship and training on how racism and structural disadvantage shapes risk for mental and behavioral health; [2] conduct research to uncover innovative and effective strategies to enhance equity and justice in health-relevant programs, policies, and structural interventions; and [3] foster a climate that values diversity in its many forms. The Department of Mental Health has formed a mental health diversity, equity, and inclusion committee (DEI), led by Dr. Renee Johnson. The committee is a standing group charged with putting into practice the DEI goals established by the University, the School, and the Department.

We know that the road to true diversity, equity, and inclusion is one that involves not one or two changes, but a consistent, ongoing effort. MH IDEAS is committed to that effort. We believe it is our responsibility as a Department of Mental Health to work towards better mental health and well-being for all members of our community. We also believe that creating an environment where all people feel safe, loved, valued, supported, and included is an essential step for accomplishing this goal.

Brief History

The Department of Mental Health is the first and the only department-level unit in a school of public health. The formal charter in 1961 under Dr. Paul Lemkau developed directly from an unusual pairing at Johns Hopkins in 1907 between Dr. Adolf Meyer, a skilled, pragmatic psychiatrist, and Clifford Beers, who, in his memoirs of his own harsh experiences as a patient, crusaded against crude, institutional treatment of mental illness. Together, they made a powerful, visionary pair who elevated the level of public discourse about the etiology and treatment of mental disorders.

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Land Acknowledgment

Our Department sits in Baltimore City, on land stolen from the Piscataway People through the direct and indirect violence of settler societies, colonialism, and genocide – historical processes of dispossession which are ongoing. Additionally, Baltimore is a city where predominantly Black communities have been disproportionately impacted by discriminatory housing policies, economic disinvestment, inequitable development and residential displacement. View the links below for more information.