PSA was originally incorporated in 1971 with a mission to provide supportive services and outreach to the elderly and to the boarding home residents of south Phoenix.  Programs included a congregate meal site and drop in center, socialization and recreation programs and independent living skills training groups provided in various supervisory care homes.


In 1981 the agency began receiving Arizona Department of Health Services funds to provide 24 hour residential treatment services to adults with chronic mental illnesses in the central Phoenix area.  Additional programs included case management, socialization and recreation services and partial care.


In 1983 the agency redesigned its residential treatment program from a 24 hour program model to a semi supervised treatment model provided in scattered site apartments in the central Phoenix area.  The agency also expanded its focus slightly by establishing a family support group.  In 1984 PSA further expanded its residential services into the north central Phoenix area, established a second case management and partial care site and began providing outpatient counseling services for chronically mentally ill adults.


A 1987 expansion established a fourth program site in Tempe, offering semi-supervised residential treatment, partial care services and chemical dependence treatment.  In 1989 the agency consolidated its Phoenix behavioral health programs into one site and expanded its services to include vocational assessment and counseling and chemical dependence assessment and treatment.  In 1991, the agency added a supported employment program and in 1992 received a Rehabilitation Services Administration contract for vocational rehabilitation services.


During the early 1990s, drastic changes took place within the state funded behavioral health system.  PSA was obliged to release its seriously mentally ill case management responsibilities and staff to a newly established centralized case management system.  The vocational program was discontinued in 1994 also as a result of some of these changes.  With the implementation of managed behavioral health care, now called the Regional Behavioral Health Authority, PSA rededicated itself to the community treatment of adults with serious mental illness and began to offer specialized counseling services to address the needs of those with the dual problems of mental illness and chemical dependence or life trauma.  The Agency offers support to friends and family as well as home management services to clients.


PSA identified a need for low-income housing and in response purchased the Sierra Vista apartment complex in 1990 in conjunction with the City of Phoenix.  This complex along with the Morten Project became the starting point to create a Housing Program.  The agency has purchased three more complexes with the RBHA and the State of Arizona.  The populations of these additional properties are RBHA clients.  In 2007, PSA purchased the Saguaro apartment complex to continue providing low income housing.


PSA expanded their Supported Living (housing) services to include a broad range of mental health treatment to the general population in late 1994.  Specialties include chemical dependence and sexual abuse assessment and treatment.


In fall 2000, PSA created the Art Awakenings program.  It is a psycho-social rehabilitation program that fuels recovery and empowerment through creative expression for adults and youth living with mental health illnesses.  The art studio setting provides a safe and supportive environment in which artists can explore and develop creative and artistic skills. 


Through therapeutic expressive arts, participants gain personal awareness, social, wellness management and professional skills for creating artwork for exhibit and sale; the ultimate goal is increased independence and community integration. Since it’s inception in Downtown Phoenix, Art Awakenings has grown to include additional studios: Tempe in 2003; and the Glendale (now in NW Phoenix), and Casa Grande sites in 2004.  The extension of the Art Awakenings site in Casa Grande was the beginning of the agency expanding to contract with Cenpatico of Arizona, an additional Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA).  In 2009, a studio was established in Tuscon with a contract from Community Partnership of Southern Arizona (CPSA). In 2010, the program continued to expand, opening studios in Yuma and Parker.  January of 2011 brought expansion into Cochise county with Bisbee and Douglas sites. January of 2012 saw the opening of the Maricopa Youth Studio. In January of 2014, the Cochise Mobile Art Unit began offering services throughout Cochise County at partner agency locations. Today, PSA Art Awakenings operates 13 studios and five galleries in six counties throughout Arizona.


In 2002, the Morten Project began.  The project is collaboration between the TRBHA, Maricopa County Adult Probation and PSA.  PSA provides the housing and clinical co-occurring treatments for clients who are on probation.


In 2002, PSA opened two community living houses, and grew to open four more in 2004, and another in 2005.  Each house accommodates four RBHA clients, that have Intensive Supported Living Services available to them  seven days a week.  Services to the clients range from teaching basic living skills to individual counseling.  The goal is to assist the clients in becoming active within their communities.


PSA opened the Wellness Center at the site on Northern Avenue in February of 2009.  This program focuses on the physical, emotional, spiritual and social dimensions of a person’s wellbeing.  It is offered to our Supported Living and Intensive Supported Living clients.


In 2008 Las Artes De Maricopa  opened as a partnership with the Valley of the Sun YMCA.  Las Artes provided opportunities for youth 16-21 to participate in art projects while addressing academic, social and emotional needs and pursuing a GED, advanced training, and/or employment. In 2011, this program was spun off to Valley of the Sun YMCA.


In 2009 Warehouse 1005 Studio and Gallery opened with a vision to develop and operate a peer-run art center where artists practice their art in a supportive environment that provides art education, music programs, facility rentals, and affordable high quality art products for sale thereby enhancing the Downtown Phoenix Art Scene. In addition psycho-social rehabilitative services are provided in the context of expressive art and pre-job training.  The main goal of the Warehouse 1005 program is to empower the artists to enhance and develop both their artistic skills and their recovery so that they can become productive members of the artistic community and achieve true community integration. In 2015, Warehouse 442 opened in Tucson, offering the same successful model of programming to Tucson Art Awakenings graduates.

PSA In Community was launched in the winter of 2012 in Maricopa as a way to offer respite and in-home services. Services quickly grew to be offered in Yuma, Cochise County, Casa Grande and Tucson. In the summer of 2013, Tucson began offering respite services to youth as well.

In 2014, PSA became one of the first providers in the state to offer Peer Employment Training allowing peers to become Certified Peer Support Specialists through a comprehensive 48 hour training. PET is currently offered in Phoenix and Tucson.

PSA received its first CARF accreditation in 2009 for the Maricopa County Adult Outpatient, Supported Living and Community Integration (Art Awakenings) programs.  The Agency has subsequently received the accreditationfor these programs as well as the Youth Art Therapy program, for an additional three years signifying the achievement of the high quality standards that enhance the lives of the persons served.



PSA Video 2016 from Art Awakenings on Vimeo.