April 20, 2023
NJAMHAA was pleased to have leaders from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) representing Region II (New York, New Jersey, U.S. territories in the Caribbean, and several federally recognized Tribal Nations) during the Membership Meeting on April 19, 2023.
HHS Regional Director Dara Kass, MD, and SAMHSA Regional Director Dennis Romero, MA, emphasized that their agencies and other areas of the federal government have development of the behavioral healthcare workforce as a priority. They listened intently to specific examples of the workforce crisis and its adverse impact that NJAMHAA staff and members shared. Several members also underscored the increases not only in the number of children and adults needing behavioral health care, but also the significantly greater acuity in all age groups. Both Dr. Kass and Romero expressed interest in meeting with NJAMHAA at least annually, and Dr. Kass added that she would like to discuss school access to care with NJAMHAA.
Romero shared information about SAMHSA initiatives, resources and budget appropriations, and he announced that SAMHSA recently released its strategic plan for FY2023 through FY2026. SAMHSA developed this plan based on five priority areas, which are:
- Preventing Overdose
- Enhancing Access to Suicide Prevention and Crisis Care
- Promoting Resilience and Emotional Health for Children, Youth and Families
- Integrating Behavioral and Physical Health Care
- Strengthening the Behavioral Health Workforce
SAMHSA's work is guided by four core principles:
- Trauma-Informed Approaches
- Commitment to Data and Evidence
Share your Feedback with SAMHSA
Romero strongly encouraged everyone to submit comments in response to the strategic plan. Click here to access this document and submit comments, which are due April 27, 2023.
He also requested feedback on past and current SAMHSA grant-funded projects that have had a significant positive impact on individuals and communities to assist him and his team in developing a proposed budget for FY2025. Input can be sent to Romero at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While highlighting current SAMHSA funding provisions, Romero noted an allocation for expanding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) and stated that New Jersey is a model for collaboration in this highly effective model of integrated care. Congratulations to our CCBHCs!