2022 Impact Report

Strengthening Wellbeing

Behavioral Health System Baltimore plays a central role in supporting mental health and wellness and expanding access to behavioral health care services in Baltimore. We are proud to share highlights of our 2022 work.


We work to develop, implement and align resources, programs and policies that support the behavioral health and wellness of individuals, families, and communities. 


We envision a city where people thrive in communities that promote and support behavioral health and wellness.


Our work embodies these core values: Integrity, Equity, Innovation, Collaboration, Quality

"BHSB has a unique role within the behavioral health system of care. We serve as a convener and collaborator and are responsible for overseeing and managing the system at the local level on behalf of people in Baltimore. BHSB’s biggest asset is our staff, who bring system-level expertise, a wide scope of experience, and meaningful relationships that allow us to connect with the community to know what’s happening in Baltimore. BHSB can’t do this work alone. We are thankful for all the partners and the people of Baltimore for working with us to support resilience, recovery, and the change that needs to happen in Baltimore.”

Building a Stronger Crisis Response System

BHSB is leading efforts to strengthen and expand crisis response services in Central Maryland. 2022 was a year of action, as we collaborated with partners to launch new services and improve access to emergency emotional support for people experiencing a mental health crisis. 

Launching the 988 Helpline

988, the new number for national Sucide and Crisis Lifeline, launched in the summer of 2022, and BHSB spearheaded efforts to ensure a successful launch in the state.

We led the work of the Fund Maryland 988 Campaign, a statewide coalition of dozens of organizations committed to building a strong crisis response system. The Campaign’s advocacy efforts secured General Assembly passage of legislation establishing a new fund to support 988 in Maryland and more funding for crisis response services across the state. 

BHSB led the development of the CALL 988 outreach effort to educate the public about the launch of the 988 Helpline  in central Maryland. The CALL 988 campaign includes a focus on introducing the public to the counselors who provide help when someone calls 988.

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Reducing Police Response to People in Crisis

Too often, people experiencing a mental health crisis call 911 for help. But police may not always be well-equipped to help with a behavioral health emergency. To address that, BHSB worked closely with Baltimore City on a 911 Diversion Program to redirect certain 911 calls to the 988 Helpline. The program marked its first year in the summer of 2022, and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott highlighted the major benefits the program has generated. 

The 911 Diversion program is helping people get the mental health support they need:

  • 643 callers to 911 were reconnected to the 988 helpline in the program’s first 17 months
  • 62 callers were helped by the mobile crisis team 
  • 372 hours saved by Baltimore Police and Fire Departments

“We need this beautiful care. When in crisis, you need to know that someone who cares is coming to help.”

Partnering for a Regional Crisis Response

BHSB serves as the anchor organization for the Greater Baltimore Regional Integrated Crisis System (GBRICS) Partnership, a collaborative effort investing $45 million over five years to transform behavioral health crisis response services in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County and Howard County. GBRICS is working to expand the capacity of the 988 Helpline, mobile crisis teams and community-based providers to reduce police interaction and overreliance on emergency departments for people in crisis.

GBRICS Hospital Partners

Carroll Hospital
Grace Medical Center
Greater Baltimore Medical Center
Howard County General Hospital
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
Johns Hopkins Hospital
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
MedStar Harbor Hospital
MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
Mercy Medical Center
Northwest Hospital
Sinai Hospital Ascension
Saint Agnes Hospital
University of Maryland Medical Center
University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus
University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center

Other Key Partners

Baltimore County Health Department, Bureau of Behavioral Health
Carroll County Health Department, Bureau of Prevention, Wellness, and Recovery
Howard County Health Department, Behavioral Health Bureau
The Horizon Foundation

Promoting Recovery and Resilience in Our Community

With our partners, we are helping support recovery and resilience for our communities. Through these efforts, we are helping people to promote hope, stay connected, and lead healthier lives.

Celebrating Recovery

Our September Recovery Month Celebration brought together community members, partner organizations, artists and performers – a joyful, uplifting tribute to the power of recovery. 

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Meeting People Where They Are

Bmore POWER has the lived experience to help people who use drugs stay safe and get connected to resources. Bmore POWER works to help people safeguard themselves and their communities from mental, physical, and societal harms. They provide education and resources including naloxone, tips for safe drug use, and share their own stories of recovery to connect with people.

Bmore POWER distributed 18,045 naloxone kits as part of their work to prevent overdoses. 

BHSB’s Focus on Equity

We recognize that systems of oppression show up everywhere, including within our own organization. If we want to end racism in our community, we must start by addressing it within. BHSB has a workgroup of dedicated employees who focus on building a more equitable organization, and we have embraced an Antiracist Framework to shape this work in everything we do. Through our communications, recruitment, hiring and face-to-face discussions, we are committed to organizational change that leads to true equity and inclusion.

BHSB team members discuss our work to advance equity.

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Our Impact in the Community

Behavioral Health System Baltimore oversees the public behavioral health system in Baltimore City.


people served


in 2021 expenditures


Nearly 66,000 consumers received mental health services


More than 35,000 people received substance use services 


BHSB awarded $43 million in grant funds to 179 entities FY21


58,039 people called the 988 Helpline for assistance

All data is for Baltimore City’s public behavioral health system in Fiscal Year 2021.

Our Board of Directors

BHSB is guided by a committed Board of Directors who work to strengthen Baltimore’s behavioral health system.

Letitia Dzirasa, MD, Chair
Commissioner of Health, Baltimore City Health Department

Steven Sharfstein, MD, Vice Chair
President Emeritus, Sheppard Pratt Health System        

Ryan Hemminger, Treasurer
CFO, Fearless                               

Miriam Brown Hutchins, JD, Secretary
Associate Judge, District Court of Maryland, District 1, Baltimore City (Ret.)

John T. Bullock, PhD
Councilman, District 9                    

Kevin Daniels, Ph.D., D Min., MSW, Bishop
Professor, Morgan State University

Kirsten Gettys Downs
Executive Director, Homeless Person Representation Project, Inc.                     

David Olawuyi Fakunle, PhD
CEO, DiscoverME/RecoverME: Enrichment Through the African Oral Tradition   


Corey D. Hatchet Sr., Pastor
House of Refuge International Church

Malcolm Haynes
Assistant Vice President for Finance and Administration, Franklin and Marshall College

Nalini Negi, PhD, MSW
Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore

Nate Newmuis
Baltimore Crisis Response, Inc. Project Analysis/Trainer

Monique J. Simms
Baltimore City Public Schools, Manager of Partnerships and Volunteers
Office of Communications, Engagement, and Enrollment

Executive Team

Crista M. Taylor
President and CEO

Denise Wheatly-Rowe
Vice President, Accountability 

Steve Johnson
Vice President, Programs

Adrienne Breidenstine
Vice President, Policy and Communications

Kathi Ruffin
Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Finance

Lynn Mumma
Chief Operating Officer and Vice President, Operations

Ayelet Gincel
Director, Human Resources