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SAMHSA Awards $5.4 Million to Five Mental Health Assistance Centers That Will Promote Consumer Involvement in Transformation of Mental Health SystemThe Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration today announced grant awards totaling $5.4 million, over the next three years, for five consumer and consumer-supporter technical assistance centers. These centers will teach consumers of mental health services the necessary skills to enhance consumer/peer-run programs.
"Strengthening consumer-run mental health service programs is a critical step toward transforming mental health care in America," said SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline, Ph.D. "These new awards will help create the consumer- and family-driven mental health system envisioned by the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health and supported by the Federal Action Agenda for Mental Health."
Three grants will be for consumer technical assistance centers and two for consumer-supporter technical assistance centers.
A consumer technical assistance center is an organization that is controlled and managed by consumers, is dedicated to the improvement of mental health services, has a board of directors that is more than 50 percent comprised of consumers, some of whom have a serious mental illness and are 18 years of age or older.
A consumer-supporter technical assistance center is an organization that is controlled and managed by individuals who provide support to consumers in a non-professional capacity (such as parents, siblings, spouses, friends, coworkers, and neighbors). A consumer-supporter technical assistance center has a board of directors that is more than 50 percent comprised of individuals who are involved with the support of a consumer.
The goal of this grant program is to strengthen consumer organizations and leadership in states, promote skills development for consumers, expand consumer participation in policy development, and promote the recovery concept among mental health providers. Each technical assistance center will provide a needs assessment and tailored technical assistance to consumers in two states where consumer organization and leadership are underdeveloped.
The grants to each technical assistance center will not exceed $340,000 for each of three years. Continuation of these awards is subject to the availability of funds as well as the progress achieved by the grantees. The first year of funding was awarded to the following organizations:
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Chicago --$339,640 each year for three years to the Transformation Center to assist mental health consumers through an integrated combination of technical assistance methods including on-line/media-supported training, grassroots training conferences, peer leadership coaching program, responsive peer-to-peer support, recovery best practices publication, certified peer specialist training, consumer organization assistance, healthcare professional training and resources and national partnerships and alliances.
National Empowerment Center (NEC), Inc. Middlesex County, Mass.--$340,000 each year for three years to NEC's Helping Consumers Participate in the Transformation to a Recovery-Based System to develop materials and pilot training for peers who want to become group facilitators of peer-run support and wellness groups, to promote consumer involvement in the planning and provision of peer support in disaster response, to develop training resources for evaluating consumer-operated traditional service programs, and to create an updated compilation of exemplary consumer-run programs in each of the four fundamental areas of transformation: services and supports, training, evaluation, and policy.
Mental Health Association of SE Pennsylvania, Philadelphia--$340,000 each year for three years to the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse to reach, teach, train and sustain hundreds of consumer-run organizations and many more individual consumers through a well-designed, user-friendly Web site, blogs, listservs, instant messaging, automatic syndication and Webinars. Consumer leaders and consumers will be able to use the Internet to access the Clearinghouse's full offering of advocacy curricula, e-newsletters, technical assistance guides, toolkits and training manuals. The Clearinghouse will provide on-site consultation, training, and technical assistance to help build or reinvigorate statewide consumer networks.
National Consumer Supporter Technical Assistance Center at Mental Health America, Alexandria, Va--$340,000 each year for three years to provide skills, knowledge and tools that enable consumers to actively participate in the transformation of the nation's mental health system. It will focus on two major programmatic areas: program management and administration and recovery. It will also develop materials that will help new non-profit consumer organizations provide management training to ensure sustainability.
For further information, visit www.samhsa.gov.
SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation's substance abuse prevention, addictions treatment, and mental health services delivery system.
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