Village Integrated Services Agency

456 Elm Avenue Long Beach, CA 90802

The Village Integrated Services Agency is a comprehensive program for people with serious mental illnesses (clients are called members at the Village). The Village offers an array of options for members which supports individuated services in all quality of life areas (i.e. employment, residence, social, substance abuse, etc) Staff focus on encouraging members’ free choice of any option at any time.

We hope that the different pages of this site will whet your appetite for more information about the Village and other Programs of the National Mental Health Association of Greater Los Angeles. Enjoy!


Awards & Certifications

  • National Mental Health Association Innovation in Programming Award for "success in representing state-of-the-art thinking in the mental health field (and) having client empowerment as a central component" in the summer of 2002.
  • The "Better Community" award provided by J* honors organizations that provide a tangible and measurable effect on their communities. That impact might be the result of any number of activities. For example, the following may be considered: the creation of jobs, societal improvement, unique business models, and more.
  • California Department of Mental Health recognized MHA Village as a best practice in the "California's Programs to Address Homelessness" report prepared for the governor in Spring 2002.
  • Fall of 2001 marked the Village for best practices in treating people with mental illness with the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Best Practices Awards.
  • National Case Management Association honored MHA Village PSC Maurice Weeks with "Consumer Case Manager of the Year Award" in the Fall of 2001.
  • In December 2000, the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities selected the MHA Village program as one that "exemplifies best employment practices for people with psychiatric disabilities." The Village was one of only 24 programs chosen nationwide for this honor.
  • The American Psychiatric Association honored the Village with the Gold Achievement Award, its highest distinction for community programs, for 2000. The Village was chosen from national competition for this prestigious recognition, given for making "an outstanding contribution to the mental health field (and providing) a model for other programs."
  • In May of 2000, the International Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services (IAPSRS) awarded the Village's Director, Martha Long, with John Beard Award. The John Beard Award is for "Life Time Achievement in Psychosocial Rehabilitation."
  • In October of 1999, Eli Lilly presented its Schizophrenia Reintegration Award to the Village's Employment Director, Paul Barry, for "outstanding achievements...that provide the necessary support for those with schizophrenia and related disorders to reintegrate into their communities."
  • In 1998, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration designated the Village as an "exemplary practice," paving the way for interested organizations to receive SAMHSA funds to replicate its model.
  • In 1995, its director, Martha Long, and psychiatrist, Mark Ragins, received the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Van Amerigen Award in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, a national recognition given for their "long standing innovative client centered programs that provide accessible, effective, efficient services."
  • Southern California Psychiatric Society honored the Village in 1994 for "pioneering efforts in creating an integrated service program to provide quality care for patients with persistent mental disorders."
  • In 1993, the Village received the California Department of Mental Health's "Programs of Excellence Award."
  • In 1993 the Journal, a quarterly magazine published by the California Alliance for the Mentally Ill, devoted an issue entirely to the Village, the first time in the publication's history that a single program was spotlighted.


Mission Statement:

After multiple drafts and in seemingly endless consultation with consumers, Board, staff and countless others, the Village Mission Statement stands as follows:

- To support and teach adults with psychiatric disabilities to recognize their strengths and power to successfully live, socialize and work in the community.

- To stimulate and promote system-wide changes necessary so that these individuals may achieve these goals.


Structure: Integrating Services 

- All services are integrated around the goal of recovery and each member’s pursuit of a full, productive life in the community at large

- Services are integrated to serve the "whole person" and not just his/her symptoms of mental illness

- Services are integrated for each member on an individualized basis depending on their expressed needs and wants

- Services are integrated so that members can strive for quality of life outcomes that affect his/her finances, housing, employment, education, legal, social, substance abuse and medical care needs.

- Services are integrated no matter where they take place—inside or outside the Village. This means that support follows the member and extends beyond the walls of the Village.



The Village's service philosophy centers on strengthening member's abilities while lessening their disabilities. Services are determined by the needs of members, not the limitations of a service system. The Village tailors its services to meet each member's distinct employment, housing, psychiatric, health, recreation and financial choices.

The Village gives members with new options for dealing with their illnesses, gaining independence and achieving personal aspirations.



Established in 1994, the Village Integrated Service Agency Training Department is known and respected internationally as a first rate training institution, particularly in regard to the principles and practice of intensive case management based on recovery and integrated services. In addition to our own staff, we have trained individuals from around the United States, including programs in Alaska, Maryland, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Washington DC, Ohio, Florida, Nebraska, Oregon, Arizona and throughout California. From outside the United States, we have trained individuals from England, the Netherlands, Japan, and New Zealand, to name a few.

If you have any questions or comments about the Village Training program please email.



How did we determine which questions to put on our FAQ list?

We went around the building asking people what questions they thought should go on this page (in order to make sure that everyone's voice was heard, plus we know that casual conversation is where all of the really good ideas are thought of). We then took two pieces of large paper with the headings "What do people ask you the most about the Village?" and "If you could tell someone one thing about the Village, what would it be?" and put them on the wall with crayons and markers attached. We did this so that people could have the opportunity to anonymously write some of their ideas. Most of the questions on this list are from these two sources.

What is this place?

The Village Integrated Services Agency blends all the parts of mental health care- treatment, rehabilitation, family and community support, and self help- to provide all of the help that people with mental illness need for self-sufficient, fulfilling lives. It tailors services to each individual's mental health needs. The Village has earned national acclaim and honors for its innovation and is a model for changing mental health care in California and other states.

For a much more comprehensive answer to this question, please look around at other pages on this website (awards).


Do people live at the village?

If they are making a web site or working on a new proposal, they may feel like they do! However, no one stays over night at the Village. Up to 60% of Village members live on their own and the other 40% is divided up into people who live in Board and Cares, Sober Living Homes and various other living arrangements. This is actually the most Frequently Asked Question that people inquire about when they first learn about the Village.


Can "they" help me with my SSI?

If a person does not have SSI we will help her apply. We also advocate for members in regards to their SSI, we assist in proper reporting (i.e. if someone begins working), and we also assist with annual reviews.


Whom do I talk to about becoming a member?

Requirement for Village Membership is:

1. Adult (18 years or older) living in the Long Beach Area

2. Axis I diagnosis (Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar Disorder, Major Depression)

3.Homeless or Incarcerated, or risk of being so.

If you have more questions call Meggan Gibson.


How is the Village Funded?

The Village gets money through AB 34 funding, billed primarily through MediCal. HAP has a variety of different funding sources- from HUD, SHIA grants, to AB 34 funding.


How do I visit/tour the Village? Whom should I contact?

Due to a large demand for site visits, information and tours, the Village holds a 3 hour presentation/tour called the Mini-Immersion once a month on a Wednesday from 9-1. Visitors attend the Wednesday morning meeting from 9-10 am, followed by a presentation of our program structure and service philosophy, a tour of the Village and then lunch in our member-operated Deli where you can visit with other staff and members. There is no charge for the training and lunch is $5. For more information contact the Training department.


Philosophy & Values

The Village Selects the best practices from its roots filters them through its assumptions, beliefs and values supports and enhances its people, programs and processes through the resulting service culture, environment, approach and structure
  • All people should have access to a full array of high quality, community based, integrated mental health services, regardless of ability to pay.
  • Mental health consumers should be given the same opportunity for access to treatment of their mental illness as the victims of cancer, diabetes or other physical illness are given.
  • Mental health services should be linguistically and culturally appropriate
  • Consumers and their expressed needs come first. Consumers should "drive" a program through expression of personal interests, needs and goals.
  • All services and approaches should be individualized based on the consumer’s needs and goals. The focus should be on the whole person and their capacities and abilities as an individual, rather than on their illness or disability.
  • The goal of recovery for the mental health consumer should be full integration into all aspects of community life. Living, learning and working should be done via integration rather than segregation.
  • Staff and consumer relationships should be grounded in mutual respect and equality. Adult-to-adult relationships should be established so as to minimize "professional distance."
  • Mental health programs should not dismiss consumers for being "difficult" or "non-compliant."
  • Program success should be measured by consumer quality-of-life outcomes.
  • Everyone, regardless of disability, has the right and responsibilities of full participation in society.
  • People with mental illness can recover and live healthy and productive lives.
  • Consumers and their families are unique and essential participants in providing advocacy, services, education and training.
  • The natural consequences or outcomes of various choices become opportunities for growth and learning. Perceived "failure" is not defeat, but rather a chance to learn and grow.
  • Mental health consumers have more in common with the general population than they have differences.
  • Consumers must play an active role in the system designed to help them cope with their illness and readjust to community life.
  • Self-help, interdependence and employment can be powerful means to self-esteem and self-worth.
  • Hope
Fundamental Assumptions About Human Nature:
  • Human beings have innate needs to belong and to be productive (Love and Work).
  • Our own experience is our best teacher. Learning is infinitely more powerful and more lasting when it is real and personal rather than artificial and vicarious.
  • People are fundamentally resilient rather than fragile. We are capable of learning from our failures and using them as opportunities for growth and change.
  • Stress cannot be avoided. It is more useful to learn to handle and cope with stress productively rather than to learn ways to avoid it.
  • People generally will rise to the occasion and accomplish what is expected of them. If forced to choose, it is better to raise the bar of expectations rather than to lower it.
  • People will accept help more readily if they are treated as equal and active partners in finding solutions to their needs. This is in contrast to being treated as passive recipients by people who are characterized (by themselves or others) as their superiors or experts. It is easier to accept help when we feel that we bring something to the relationship rather than just take from it.
  • Having a disability does not change the fundamental nature of the above assumptions! These assumptions are just as true for people with disabilities as they are for non-disabled people!