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June 22, 2005

Federal Mental Health Action Agenda Released

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in collaboration with seven cabinet level federal agencies, today released an Action Plan describing initial steps to be taken as part of a multi-year effort to alter the form and function of America’s mental health system. The plan, entitled "Transforming Mental Health Care in America: The Federal Action Agenda", represents an unprecedented collaborative undertaking to define the role of the federal government in giving shape to the New Freedom Commission’s call for a fundamental transformation of mental health services in America. The Plan describes 70 action steps that will be taken in the coming months and years to improve collaboration and coordination between various federal agencies responsible for services to children and adults with mental illnesses.

NAMI Executive Director Michael Fitzpatrick, speaking at a press conference to announce the release of the Action Plan, hailed the plan as "an important first step in defining the role that the federal government can play, in partnership with states and communities, in establishing a coherent and cohesive mental health system in America. Today’s release of this action plan is particularly timely as decisions about programs of critical importance to people with serious mental illnesses are made." In the coming months, decisions will be made about programs such as Medicaid, Section 8 housing vouchers and other programs of vital importance to people with severe mental illnesses.

A copy of the Action Agenda, the members of the Executive Steering Committee established to implement the agenda, and other supporting documents, can be found by clicking here.

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