The Office of Psychological & Behavioral Services was established to provide education, training, and professional support to community providers. Three regionally-based comprehensive support services teams provide medical and psychological care for individuals with special needs. PBS coordinates the implementation, training, and monitoring of behavioral and psychological services in the community agencies.

Comprehensive Support Services Teams

When persons with intellectual disabilities served through one of the Alabama DMH Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) HCBS Waivers have a need for interventions to prevent behavioral crises, DDD provides a comprehensive array of specialized services through an interdisciplinary treatment modality, utilizing clinical professionals with training in behavioral supports called the DDD Comprehensive Support Systems (CSS) Teams. 

The CSS teams were established to provide consultative assistance to an individual with an intellectual disability and as applicable, their family/natural supports, involved provider agencies, mental health centers, police and other community support organizations to address significantly challenging, crisis, and/or emergency situations that may lead to an individual experiencing psychiatric hospital admission, incarceration, or challenges to maintaining community living. Specialized services, consultations, evaluations, and training services are provided in a manner that is designed to increase the individual’s coping and behavior regulation skills, and to increase the capacity and expertise of those involved in supporting the person, in the places where they support the person. 

Comprehensive Support Services teams assess the need for and assist with providing an array of supports to individuals enrolled in ID, LAH or CWP waiver programs, who require specialized behavioral services, and if available, medical services and/or dental services that are needed specifically due to behavior that is challenging. Additionally, these teams assist HCBS and generic community, medical and dental providers with developing internal capacity related to supporting individuals who require these services. 

The four Comprehensive Support Services teams are in Decatur, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, and Mobile, located inside of the Regional Community Services offices. The division of responsibilities for state-wide coverage is as follows: 

  • Decatur team - provides services for DD Region I  
  • Tuscaloosa team- provides services for DD Region 2 
  • Montgomery team - provides services for DD Regions IV and V; and 
  • Mobile team - provides services for Region III. 

Services Provided: 

  1. Training on the Behavioral Services Procedural Guidelines
  2. Consultation regarding individuals with experiencing severe behavioral challenges
  3. Assistance with developing Behavioral Support Plans, Special Level of Staff Plans, Fading Plans
  4. Activities in the areas of psychiatric consultation services, medical consultation services, and dental services based on individual need and which may require the participation of multiple team specialists.

Who should be referred: 

  1. Person with ID who exhibits challenging behaviors with the potential to escalate into a near-term crisis situation; person with ID whose experienced behavioral challenges are currently significant, including crisis, and/or emergency situations that may lead to an individual experiencing psychiatric hospital admission, incarceration, or challenges to maintaining community living.  
  2. Medical, psychiatric, or dental services cannot be obtained in the community for a person otherwise eligible for services provided by CSS Teams
  3. Current behavioral or medical/dental treatment strategies are not effective for a person otherwise eligible for services provided by CSS Teams
  4. Numerous psychotropic medications or high doses are prescribed
  5. Person begins exhibiting new challenging behavior(s)
  6. Recent psychiatric/behavioral hospitalization(s)
  7. Involvement with law enforcement due to challenging behaviors

Accessing Services: In order to access Comprehensive Support Services, Support Coordinators, provider agencies and/or families should contact their Regional Community Services Office. The Directors of these offices (or Support Coordinators for the CWP if Regional Office employees) implement established procedures for processing and prioritizing referrals using the Request for Regional Action procedures. 

Dr. Eliza Belle, Director

Decatur Team

Psychological Assistant: Warren Freeman
Psychological Associate: J. Scott Long

Supports for Region I 

Mobile Team

Psychologist/Team Leader: David Ziskind, Ph.D., BCBA
Psychological Assistant: Bradley Lamey
Psychiatrist: Dr. Todd Luellen

Supports for Region III

Montgomery Team

HTC II: Mentholyn Wright–Jackson
Psychological Assistant: Stacey Lowman
Physician: Dr. Mark Hayden
Psychiatrist: Dr. Daniel Mejer
Dentist: Dr. Harrison Long

Supports for Regions IV and V Services
(CSS Headquarters/Host for Telepsychiatry)

Tuscaloosa Team

DD Behavior Analyst: Meghann Kernan, BCBA, LBA

Supports for Region II