Stephen T. Baron
Stephen T. Baron is the Director of the Department of Behavioral Health where he leads the development and management of the District’s mental and substance use disorder treatment services and supports.
The Department of Behavioral Health provides emergency psychiatric care and ongoing community based services and support to about 30,000 residents , and includes a network of private mental health rehabilitation services and substance abuse treatment providers, unique government delivered services, and Saint Elizabeths Hospital—the District’s inpatient psychiatric facility.
Mr. Baron was appointed the Director of the Department of Mental Health in 2006 where he served until the merger of the Department with the Addiction Prevention Recovery Administration on October 1, 2013. While director of the Mental Health Department, Mr. Baron led the implementation of initiatives that increased access to care and expanded the range of available services, including emergency mobile crisis services, an urgent care clinic at Superior Court for on the spot referrals to mental health treatment, and evidence-based programs for children proven to make a difference. In partnership with the Metropolitan Police Department, he started crisis intervention training on the most appropriate response to people with mental illness. Under his leadership, the Department ended the 37-year court oversight of the District’s mental health services.
Before joining District government, Mr. Baron was president of Baltimore Mental Health Systems, Inc. for 17 years where he developed a range of innovative community-based programs for adults, increased affordable housing for people with mental illness, and expanded school-based and early childhood mental health services.
A Baltimore native, Mr. Baron has received numerous awards and honors, including the Champion Award from the District of Columbia Mental Health Association. He holds a Master of Social Work from Howard University and his field placement was with the Saint Elizabeths Hospital outpatient program. He received a Bachelor of Social Welfare from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York.
Mr. Baron serves as secretary on the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Research Institute (NRI).