A YouTube Attack on SAMHSA

 You might recall that Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Perry made headlines last week when he couldn’t remember during a presidential candidate debate the third federal agency that he wanted to eliminate if he makes it to Washington D.C..

Quick on the punch, Dr. E. Fuller Torrey has come up with a suggestion: the  Substance Abuse and  Mental Health Administration. The lightening rod psychiatrist  has turned to YouTube to make his pitch.

Why does Dr. Torrey want to shut down SAMHSA?  I suspect that one reason is because  several mental health groups that vehemently oppose Assisted Outpatient Treatment  laws, such as Kendra’s Law in New York,  are funded by SAMHSA grants and programs.  Meanwhile, Dr. Torrey’s group, the Treatment Advocacy Center, doesn’t accept federal funds.

What’s your view on Dr. Torrey’s campaign to eliminate SAMHSA? Does SAMHSA fund programs in your community that are helpful to persons with mental illnesses? I’d love to hear from the grassroots on this issue.


About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.


  1. One positive note….. our community mental health agency did receive a SAMHSA grant to support integrated care for people with neurobiological illnesses as well as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and other comorbid conditions.   The funding helped us grow our nursing services, provide more nutritional and diabetes education, medication monitoring, rapid glucose and lipid testing and so much more.  We know that people with major mental illness die years before the general population.  We have been able to link more people with primary care with the help of the SAMSHA funding.  

  2. I also think you may be asking the wrong question: ” Does SAMHSA fund programs in your community that are helpful to persons with mental illnesses?” For one thing, you are going to hear from every recipient of SAMHSA largesse saying ‘yes’, their program is great. But the question Dr. Torrey raises is more profound: Is the net effect of SAMHSA positive or negative for people with the most serious mental illnesses (as opposed to those with vaguely defined mental ‘health’ issues). The answer to that question is “No”. Without SAMHSA funding lawyers to fight assisted treatment and consumertocracy to fight assisted treatment, there is no doubt this would be available. We would have laws that prevent violence, rather than require it. In addition, the block grants (the biggest component) which are funding ‘mental health’ would be more likely to fund mental ‘illness’ if a medically oriented agency was administering the funds.