About Division 18

Div. 18 (Psychologists in Public Service) responds to the needs of the public in areas such as psychological practice, research, training, and policy formation. The division comprises six sections representing a variety of settings: Community and State Hospital, Criminal Justice, Police and Public Safety, Psychologists in Indian Country, Serious Mental Illness-Severe Emotional Disturbance and Veterans Affairs. The division and its sections provide a forum for its members to discuss common professional interests, to advocate for the mental health needs of the public, and to promote the use of evaluation and research in public research programs. The newsletter Public Service Psychology is sent to members three times a year.

Learn about the history of Div. 18.

Div. 18 is comprised of psychologists who work in public service settings. Psychologists in public service settings:

  • Engage principally in public service through a common responsibility to carry out programs that are publicly legislated and funded and accountable to the public.
  • Work directly and/or indirectly with underserved and marginalized communities or specialized populations who may not be best served elsewhere.
  • Work for the good of the community in a clinical, consultative, research, and/or training capacity, or by serving those who serve the community.
  • Advocate on behalf of or alongside underserved and marginalized communities or specialized populations served in publicly funded setting.

Div. 18 is one of the divisions of the American Psychological Association (APA). Its core values and its sections are consistent with the core values of APA:

  • Advocate for psychology and psychologists: demonstrate an unwavering commitment to promoting the field while supporting and unifying those that make it their profession.
  • Build on a foundation of science: ensure that the best available psychological science informs policies, programs, and products.
  • Engage with and deliver value to members: provide resources, opportunities, and networks that help all members at every stage of their career.
  • Champion diversity and inclusion: understand and appreciate differences and be inclusive in everything we do.
  • Respect human rights: focus on human rights, fairness, and dignity for all segments of society.
  • Lead by example: serve others, model integrity, and demonstrate the highest ethical standards in all our actions.

Strategic Plan


A strong, diverse, and unified organization that enhances knowledge about psychology in public service settings and elevates the human condition in these contexts.


The mission of Div. 18 is to advance the creation, communication, and application of psychological knowledge in public service settings to benefit society and improve people’s lives.


  • Keep challenges and opportunities associated with public service psychology at the forefront of APA.
  • Increase the division’s effectiveness by increasing communication and collaboration, bolstering cross-fertilization among the sections, investing in strategic priorities, creating capacity for new initiatives, reviewing and updating the strategic plan, and enhancing the division’s visibility and impact within APA.
  • Increase membership and member engagement.
  • Identify unifying themes within the division and advance initiatives related to these themes.
  • Support psychologists as they train the next generation of psychologists and other mental health professionals to work in public service settings.
  • Engage in social justice advocacy related to psychology and psychologists in public service settings and for the benefit of those served in these settings.
  • Disseminate culturally relevant, setting-appropriate, and population-driven evidence-based practices for public service settings.
  • Communicate scholarly advances related to psychology in the public service through educational programming and publications.

Special Initiatives

  • The Div. 18 mentoring program provides students and early career psychologists the opportunity to gain wisdom and guidance from a "seasoned" psychologist with similar clinical and/or research interests.
Last updated: November 2021Date created: October 2011