We know how to fix our broken mental health service systems. We need policies and services that will fully realize the promise of community-based, recovery-oriented mental health care and will address the devastating cycles of institutionalization, incarceration, and homelessness.

We need to: 

  • Implement the rights of Americans with disabilities to live, work and receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate.

  • Focus on the roots of the problems we face: gaps in voluntary, community-based services that fuel the epidemics of unnecessary hospitalization, incarceration, homelessness, and crisis.

This means: 

  • Real-time responses that rely on evidence-based practices such as supported housing, employment services, Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), warmlines, peer support services, crisis respites, and mobile crisis teams.

  • Intensive outreach and engagement towards underserved individuals.

  • Education and support for families and people using services, including specific assistance with understanding HIPAA and privacy regulations.

  • Services that prevent the need for unnecessary hospital admission, rather than allowing people to fail and intervening only then.

  • Opportunities to live, work, and receive services in the most integrated setting.

  • Appropriate services that engage people of different ages, cultures and backgrounds.

  • Ensure that systems hold service providers accountable for outcomes such as improved health, housing retention, employment, and social and community connections. And that systems give providers access to training and support. 

  • Motivate collaborations between mental health systems and families, providers, and social service and criminal justice systems to prevent incarceration and recidivism.

  • Preserve Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) programs that create opportunities for innovative peer-to-peer and family-to-family networks to promote whole health, recovery, and resilience.

  • Call for re-authorization and full funding of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program, a program that protects the rights of individuals with mental health needs in education, housing, employment, health care, and other areas, as well as investigating and ending systemic abuse and neglect.