Strategic Initiatives

In order to achieve its mission, SAMHSA has identified strategic initiatives to focus on improving lives and capitalizing on emerging opportunities.

Through strategic initiatives, SAMHSA will:

  • Help people with mental and substance use disorders
  • Support the families of people with mental and substance use disorders
  • Build strong and supportive communities
  • Prevent costly behavioral health problems
  • Promote better health for all Americans

These initiatives allow SAMHSA to:

  • Respond to national, state, territorial, tribal, and local trends and urgencies
  • Support the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act

Initiative Information

Current Initiatives

Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness

Lead: Frances M. Harding, Director, Center of Substance Abuse Prevention
This initiative focuses on:

  • High-risk youth
  • Youth in tribal communities
  • Military families

Through this initiative, we create communities where individuals, families, schools, faith-based organizations, and workplaces:

  • Promote emotional health
  • Reduce the likelihood of mental illness, suicide, and substance abuse

Website: Prevention Initiative

Trauma and Justice

Lead: Larke N. Huang, Director, Office of Behavioral Health Equity
This initiative addresses the behavioral health needs of people involved in - or at risk of involvement in - the criminal and juvenile justice systems. To reduce the impact of violence and trauma, SAMHSA coordinates trauma-informed approaches within:

  • Health
  • Behavioral health
  • Related systems

Website: Trauma and Justice Initiative

Military Families

Lead: A. Kathryn Power, Regional Administrator, Region 1
This initiative ensures that service men and women, and their families and communities, can access effective behavioral health services. The initiative covers all military branches, including:

  • Active Duty
  • National Guard
  • Reserve
  • Veterans

Website: Military Families Initiative

Recovery Support

Lead: Paolo del Vecchio, Director, Center for Mental Health Services
This initiative assists people in recovery from mental and substance use disorders by:

  • Guiding the behavioral health system
  • Promoting individual, program, and system-level approaches that foster health and resilience
  • Increasing permanent housing, employment, education, and other necessary support
  • Reducing barriers to social inclusion

Website: Recovery Support Initiative

Health Reform

Lead: Suzanne Fields, Senior Advisor to the Administrator on Health Care Financing
This initiative increases access to quality healthcare coverage, supports integrated and coordinated care, and ensures that providers who cover mental health or substance use disorders offer coverage that is equal to the benefits for other chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or hypertension. Coverage parity should extend to:

  • Substance abuse
  • Mental disorders
  • Other medical conditions, such as co-occurring disorders and HIV/AIDS

Website: Health Reform Initiative

Health Information Technology

Lead: H. Westley Clark, Director, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
This initiative ensures that the behavioral health system participates in the general health care delivery system. It encourages the adoption of Health Information Technology (HIT) and interoperable Electronic Health Records (EHR) by:

  • States
  • Community providers
  • Peer and prevention specialists

Website: Health Information Technology Initiative

Data, Outcomes, and Quality

Lead: Rear Admiral Peter J. Delany, Director, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality
This initiative creates an integrated data strategy and a national framework to improve the quality of behavioral health care by:

  • Informing policy
  • Measuring program impact
  • Improving service quality and outcomes for individuals, families, and communities

Website: Data, Outcomes, and Quality Initiative

Public Awareness and Support

Lead: Marla Hendriksson, Director, Office of Communications
This initiative increases the public's understanding of mental and substance use disorders to:

  • Achieve the full potential of prevention
  • Help people recognize mental and substance use disorders
  • Encourage people to seek assistance
  • Make recovery the expectation

Website: Public Awareness and Support Initiative

Strategic Initiatives Archive

Leading Change: A Plan for SAMHSA's Roles and Actions 2011 - 2014
Public Comments and Feedback SAMHSA Initiatives (Commenting Closed)

Last Updated: 09/11/2014