TRANSFORMING MENTAL HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA
The Federal Action Agenda: First Steps
THE TIME FOR ACTION IS NOW
Transformation of the mental
health system in America is a monumental task, but one that cannot be delayed.
This Federal Mental Health Action Agenda makes clear that the system
must be redirected toward its primary goal-helping adults with serious mental
illnesses and children with serious emotional disturbances achieve recovery to
live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. This vision
requires nothing short of a complete transformation of administrative policies,
funding mechanisms, and the hearts and minds of everyone who has a stake in our
nation's health care system. The time for action is now.
This Federal Mental Health Action
Agenda represents the first "to do list" of a multi-year effort to
alter the form and function of the mental health system from the top down and
from the bottom up. This Action Agenda represents the Federal response
to Executive Order 13263 and is informed by the New Freedom Commission's vision
of a transformed mental health service system. However, transformation is a
Federal agencies can act as
leaders and as facilitators, promoting shared responsibility for change at the
Federal, State, and local levels, and in the private sector, in such areas as
public education, research, service system capacity, and technology
development. States, however, will be the very center of gravity for system
transformation; many have already begun this critical work. Their leadership in
planning, financing, service delivery, and evaluation of consumer and
family-driven services will significantly advance the transformation agenda.
Finally, an emphasis on individual recovery and resilience will transform not
only service delivery systems, but also hearts, minds, and lives for future
UNPRECEDENTED FEDERAL COMMITMENT
With this Federal Mental Health
Action Agenda, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
and its Federal partners make an unprecedented commitment to collaborate on
behalf of adults with serious mental illnesses and children with serious
emotional disturbances to:
Send the message that mental
illnesses and emotional disturbances are treatable and that recovery is
Act immediately to reduce the
number of suicides in the Nation through full implementation of the National
Strategy for Suicide Prevention.
Help States develop the
infrastructure necessary to formulate and implement Comprehensive State Mental
Health Plans that include the capacity to create individualized plans of care
that promote resilience and recovery.
Develop a plan to promote a
mental health workforce better qualified to practice culturally competent
mental health care based on evidence-based practices.
Improve the interface of primary
care and mental health services.
Initiate a national effort
focused on the mental health needs of children and promote early intervention
for children identified to be at risk for mental disorders. Prevention and
early intervention can help forestall or prevent disease and disability.
Expand the "Science-to-Services"
agenda and develop new evidence-based practices toolkits.
Increase the employment of
people with psychiatric disabilities.
Design and initiate an
electronic health record and information system that will help providers and
consumers better manage mental health care and that will protect the privacy
and confidentiality of consumers' health information.
FULL PARTICIPATION NOW
The reason to begin is both
simple and profound-people with mental disorders have a vital role to play in
our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, and our country. Their
ability to participate fully can no longer be derailed by outdated science,
outmoded financing, and unspoken discrimination. They demand better, and they
deserve better. Putting children and their parents, adults, and older adults
with mental disorders at the heart of the health care system must be