HistoryThe Southern Arizona Mental Health Clinic was established in 1961 through a joint effort of the Arizona State Hospital, the Heller Foundation, the Mental Health Association and the Psychology Department at the University of Arizona. The Clinic provided diagnostic and ongoing treatment service on a sliding fee scale basis to residents of Pima, Cochise and Santa Cruz counties.
The Southern Arizona Mental Health Center (SAMHC) was officially established in 1962 as a State owned and operated outpatient mental health facility under the aegis of the Arizona Sate Hospital. The staff of the Tucson Outpatient Clinic and the Southern Arizona Mental Health Clinic was combined and the former Casa Rita Guest Ranch located at 6th and Campbell was purchased through legislative appropriation. The Mission of the new Agency was expanded to include the provision of comprehensive mental health services to the five (5) southern counties of Pima, Cochise, Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz.
In July of 1996, the Arizona State Legislature passed a bill that privatized SAMHC. The new entity was established as a private non-profit mental health facility and named Southern Arizona Mental Health Corporation. SAMHC continued to play a major role in the development of the community mental health movement in Arizona and in coordinating efforts to avert institutional placement.
Today, SAMHC has redefined the services provided to the community in response to a rapidly changing delivery service environment. SAMHC is focused on becoming the premiere provider of crisis behavioral heath services in the nation. However, the agency's commitment to excellence in services and continuity of care for the individuals served has remained unchanged. SAMHC has established a significant history of "firsts" for innovative service delivery programs in the State of Arizona. These include the first on-site pharmacy located on the grounds of a community health center (1965); the firstwalk-in clinic (1970); the first court mental health clinic through the Pima County Superior Court (1972); one of the first nine Community Mental Health Centers in the nation to receive Joint Commission of Accreditation and the first Brief Treatment Program in Southern Arizona. In keeping with the tradition of "firsts", SAMHC is the nucleus of the first Crisis Consortium for Pima County. The consortium consists of agency providers who share information and have instituted a referral system to link up the individuals requiring services with the appropriate agency. This moves the individual through the system in the most efficient manner and produces less stress for that individual in securing the services they require and secures the services more quickly insuring a continuity of care that all the agency providers seek.
The Southern Arizona Mental Health Corporation (SAMHC) has grown and expanded to meet the needs of the community as it continues to operate a comprehensive community-wide crisis system in Pima County. The components of the Community Wide Crisis Services program include:
- Walk-in Crisis Center
- Mobile Acute Crisis (MAC) Services
- 23-Hour Hospital Diversion Observation Unit
- Four- Bed Level 1 Sub Acute Unit