SAMHSA announces workforce initiative

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has announced the launch of a Workforce Development Strategic Initiative. This is one of six priorities in its relatively new strategic plan, Leading Change 2.0, which also prioritizes prevention, integration, trauma and justice, recovery supports and health information technology. Driving this focus are longstanding concerns about the mental health and addiction workforce, which have been heightened by the recent health care reforms, including the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the Affordable Care Act. Within the workforce initiative, SAMHSA is focusing on four key areas:

  • The development and dissemination of training and competencies
  • The deployment of peer providers in all public health and health care delivery settings
  • Increasing the capacity to address behavioral health in all prevention, treatment, and recovery settings
  • Assuring adequate funding and payment structures

A review of the Workforce Initiative suggests that is pulls together pre-existing workforce projects being conducted by SAMHSA and its federal partners and adds some initiatives and funding from the Obama Administration’s Now is the Time initiative to increase access to mental health care. Within SAMHSA, Anne Herron has been designated the workforce lead. Partnership with HRSA is a central tenet of SAMHSA’s approach to addressing the diverse workforce issues in behavioral health.

For further information:

Access an overview of the SAMHSA workforce initiative.

Review the recent SAMHSA News issue summarizing the workforce initiative.

Read the views of SAMHSA Administrator Pam Hyde on the workforce crisis.

Access SAMHSA’s strategic plan, Leading Change 2.0.

Read about the Now is the Time initiative.


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