Press Conference Tomorrow To Unveil Reforms To Federal Mental Health System: You Can Tune In

(12-13-17) I will be participating tomorrow (Thursday)  in a press conference being held at SAMHSA to unveil the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee’s  first report to Congress.

Who will speak:

·         Eric D. Hargan, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Secretary

·         Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

·         Dr. Anita Everett, SAMHSA Chief Medical Officer

·         Mary Giliberti, ISMICC non-federal member

·         Pete Earley, ISMICC non-federal member

WHEN: Thursday, December 14, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. EST

WHERE:  Online via webcast. Visit on the day of the event for more information.

The ISMICC committee was created by the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act that became law during the final days of the Obama administration after that legislation (pushed by former Rep. Tim Murphy R-Pa.) was incorporated into the 21st Century Cures Act. The new law also created the Assistant Secretary of Mental Health and Substance Abuse – a position held by Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz.

Congress created this new Assistant Secretary position and the ISMICC committee because it wanted to prioritize federal mental health reform. Because of time restraints related to federal clearance reviews, this report was written exclusively by the committee’s non-federal members. I am proud that these recommendations come from advocates who have worked tirelessly in the trenches and faced the real problems that I faced.

I am now eager to more fully collaborate with our federal members.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons houses 148,227 prisoners and we know nationally, 16% of incarcerated Americans have a serious mental illness and 72% have co-occurring substance abuse addictions. What innovative ideas will it have that will guarantee public safety but also deal humanely with seriously ill inmates? What clever approaches will be offered by the Department of Education because we know early screening is invaluable? How can we work together to help the Veterans Administration and Defense Department better address PTSD and suicides?

Our committee has five years to do its job of reforming our system. That is a daunting challenge. It is our responsibility as advocates to insure that Congress, the White House and our federal agencies help us get meaningful reforms passed. We can’t afford to have another report filled with ideas that never get acted on.

Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee Will Release Report to Congress
Press Conference | Thursday, December 14, 2017 9–10 a.m. Eastern Time 

Members of the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) will discuss the recommendations in their first Report to Congress in a press conference on December 14, 2017. The findings and recommendations in the ISMICC report have the potential to spur federal action to revolutionize behavioral health care by increasing access, quality, and affordability of care.

For more information, visit SAMHSA’s ISMICC webpage.

Virtual Public Meeting | Thursday, December 14, 2017 | 10:30 a.m– 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Members of the public can attend the open, public portion of the ISMICC meeting via telephone or webcast. The meeting can be accessed via webcast on the HHS Live Stream channel. To obtain the call-in number and access code or request special accommodations for persons with disabilities, contact Pamela Foote, Designated Federal Official at

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.