• A mental health planning and advisory council exists in every State and U.S. Territory as a result of federal law first enacted in 1986.
  • The law requires States and Territories to perform mental health planning in order to receive federal Mental Health Block Grant funds.
  • Stakeholders, including behavioral health consumers, their family members, and parents of children with serious emotional or behavioral disturbances, must be involved in these planning efforts through membership on the council.
  • The Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is encouraging states to move toward a behavioral health planning and advisory structure that integrates mental health and substance abuse services.
  • North Dakota expanded the focus of the council to include services for substance use disorders. The group is referred to as the Behavioral Health Planning Council. The council consists of 30 members who are appointed by the Governor.
    • A diverse membership brings vast strengths and varying perspectives to the council. There is a shared knowledge of individual and general consumer situations, Medicaid, service delivery systems, reimbursement issues, housing and community development, legal issues, and community resources.
    • Points of view are presented from consumers of mental health and substance abuse services, family members, advocates, referral sources, schools, institutional and community-based service providers, the general disability community, and the criminal justice system.
    • A majority of the membership has direct experience with issues concerning recovery, peer mentoring, service delivery, children's issues, and/or advocacy for mental health and substance abuse issues.