Power Named to Head Federal Center for Mental Health Services

Jun 25 2003

Arlington, VA – The largest grassroots advocacy organization in America, NAMI, The Nation’s Voice on Mental Illness, welcomes the selection of Kathryn Power as the new Director of the Federal Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). Power is currently Director of the Rhode Island Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Hospitals (MHRH). She previously 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, 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."

Power ascends to the leadership of CMHS at a very crucial time. Inadequate funding of public mental health systems, coupled with fragmentation of mental health services and supports, has left "America’s mental health service delivery system in shambles," according to President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. The new Director of CMHS will face significant challenges in addressing this national crisis.

During her tenure as leader of Rhode Island’s mental health system, Power achieved statewide implementation of PACT programs in every mental health center in the state, led integration of mental health and substance abuse services for people with co-occurring disorders, and provided strong support of consumer and family education and peer-support programs.

Power graduated from St Joseph’s College in Emmitsburg, MD with a B.A. Degree in Education and has a Masters Degree in Education and Counseling from Western Maryland College. She is a former President of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors and is a Captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve. She has received many awards and honors during her career in the mental health and substance abuse fields.