Friday October 22 Deadline for INPUT TO SAMHSA!

Following is a nationally-distributed note that focuses on specific consumer-proposed objectives and how to respond to them as well as to the initiative areas named by new Director Pam Hyde. 

From NYAPRS in New York You have only two more days (until October 22nd) to make your voice heard and help shape federal mental health policy!   The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the federal government’s lead body on mental health policy. Upon taking office, SAMHSA Administrator Pam Hyde issued a series of Strategic Priorities that included:  Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness; Trauma and Justice; Military families-Active, Guard, Reserve, and Veteran; Health Reform; Housing and Homelessness; Health Information Technology for Behavioral Health Providers;    Data, Outcomes, and Quality-Demonstrating Results; Public Awareness and Support

At numerous public forums, including a consumer roundtable with Ms. Hyde held at last year’s ACMHA conference and a recent public comment session at Alternatives 2010, groups have expressed serious concerns that some of the most important forces that have driven the field’s best innovations and advances are not sufficiently and explicitly listed as priorities. These include: Recovery Focus;  Primary Input from Consumers/Survivors; Employment; Self Help and Mutual Support; Peer run Services and Peer Specialists; Trauma-informed care; Cultural Competence and Diversity; Incorporate Holistic, Complementary Approaches; Support More Non-Drug Mental Health Alternatives

While Ms. Hyde has assured stakeholders that these issues should be integrated in all her 8 Priorities, many fear they will be left out, or added as an appendage and afterthought that could weaken all the hard won progress we have made over the past few decades.              Here’s an opportunity for you to underscore the importance of these ‘other’ priorities: SAMHSA is seeking comments by October 22 on its Strategic Initiatives Paper that “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.”

SAMHSA 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 easiest way to add your input on the above missing priorities is to go to add your support to the following comments that push for:

Or add your own new comments!  People are encouraged “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.”

Make Your Voice Heard Today!

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