Facing the challenge of developing an action plan to implement President Bush’s New Freedom Commission (NFC) on Mental Health’s reported goals and recommendations, Administrator Charles Curie of Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has designated newly appointed Kathryn Power, Director of the Federal Center for Mental Health Services to do the job.
Previously the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Hospitals (MHRH). Power has served in a number of capacities in the substance abuse and mental health fields at state and community levels.
"From NAMI Rhode Island’s perspective, she has been a staunch family and consumer advocate," states Jim McNulty, former president of the National NAMI Board and a resident of Rhode Island. "She has tenaciously fought against assaults on the mental health budget made by previous governors and legislators. She has kept the state agency focused on its central mission of caring for people with the greatest needs, both in the mental illness and mental retardation fields."
Now contending with budgetary crises and a mental health care delivery system so fragmented the NFC called for sweeping system transformation, Power has moved forward in gathering information from stakeholders, including NAMI, and developing an action agenda.
SAMHSA includes three Centers that engage in program activities focusing on substance abuse treatment, mental health service and substance abuse prevention. The Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) states its purpose as seeking to improve the availability and accessibility of high-quality community-based services for people with or at risk for mental illnesses and their families.
While the largest portion of the Center's appropriation supports the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Program, CMHS also supports a portfolio of discretionary grant programs, called Programs of Regional and National Significance, to apply knowledge about best community-based systems of care and services for adults with serious mental illnesses and children with serious emotional disturbances. Issues of stigma and consumer empowerment are also on the Center's program and policy agenda.
The Center collects, analyzes, and disseminates national data on mental health services designed to help inform future services, policy and program decision-making. For more information visit the CMHS website.