Detailed action plan provided for review until Friday, October 22, 2010

Newswise — The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is seeking comments on its Strategic Initiatives Paper. The paper outlines the goals, priorities and action steps for forming the basis of SAMHSA's Strategic Plan. It was developed based on discussions with Federal, state and local leaders, constituency groups, advisory council members, members of congress, people in recovery and family members.

“This paper outlines the immediate and future priorities for SAMHSA, and to deliver the best results to the American people, we are seeking help and assistance from the world outside of government,” said SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde J.D. “SAMHSA is eager to hear the public’s feedback on the paper and looks forward to suggestions on how it can be improved. The opportunity to comment and read what others are saying about the Strategic Initiatives Paper is a vital step in SAMHSA’s process to ensure that the American public is engaged and informed of SAMHSA’s activities and that SAMHSA is in-touch with the needs of the behavioral health community.”

The paper summarizes SAMHSA’s current and future environments and outlines a roadmap to improve health in America by reducing the impact of mental illnesses and substance abuse on the Nation's communities. The agency is actively soliciting comments and ideas from outside experts and the general public on all elements of the plan and suggestions for improving it.

The eight strategic initiatives, their designated leaders and aims are:

Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental IllnessFran Harding, Director, Center for Mental Health ServicesCreate prevention prepared communities where individuals, families, schools, workplaces, and communities take action to promote emotional health and prevent and reduce mental illness, substance abuse including tobacco, and suicide across the life span.

Trauma and JusticeLarke Huang, Senior Advisor to the AdministratorReduce the pervasive, harmful, and costly impact of violence and trauma by implementing trauma-informed approaches in health systems and by diverting people with substance use and mental disorders from criminal and juvenile justice systems into trauma-informed treatment and recovery.

Military families-Active, Guard, Reserve, and VeteranKathryn Power, Director, Center for Substance Abuse PreventionSupport our service men and women, veterans, their families and communities by leading efforts to ensure that needed behavioral health services are accessible and effective.

Health Reform John O’Brien, Senior Advisor for Health FinanceBroaden health coverage and the use of evidence based practices to increase access to appropriate and high quality care, and to reduce disparities that currently exist between the availability of services for substance use and mental disorders and other medical conditions. Housing and HomelessnessKathryn Power, Director, Center for Substance Abuse PreventionProvide housing and reduce barriers to accessing effective programs that sustain recovery for individuals with mental and substance use disorders who are homeless.

Health Information Technology for Behavioral Health ProvidersWestley Clark, Director, Center for Substance Abuse TreatmentEnsure the behavioral health provider network, including prevention specialists and consumer providers, fully participates with the general health care delivery system in the adoption of health information technology.

Data, Outcomes, and Quality-Demonstrating ResultsRADM Pete Delany, Director, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and QualityRealize an integrated data strategy that informs policy, measures program impact, and results in improved quality of services and outcomes for individuals, families, and communities.

Public Awareness and SupportMark Weber, Director, Office of CommunicationsIncrease understanding of mental and substance use disorders to achieve the full potential of prevention, help people recognize these conditions and seek assistance with the same urgency as any health condition, and make recovery the expectation.

Those interested in viewing and providing comments on SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiatives Paper are encouraged to go to to leave their suggestions, read the comments others have provided and vote for those ideas that have the greatest merit. The public comment period on the plan will continue until Friday, October 22, 2010.

SAMHSA will also be holding a public Open House to discuss the strategic initiatives on October 8, 2010, from 9 a.m. to the Sugarloaf Conference Room at SAMHSA’s Headquarters’ Building -1 Choke Cherry Road, Rockville. MD.

In addition, SAMHSA is launching a blog that will support and highlight the Strategic Initiatives and give people an opportunity to give real-time feedback and have their voice heard. The blog, available at, provides a platform for people to discuss what SAMHSA is up to, share ideas with others around the health care world and express what they would like to see from SAMHSA.

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