Science of maintaining mental health and preventing disorders to help people function at their full mental potential. It includes all measures taken to promote and preserve mental health: rehabilitation of the mentally disturbed, prevention of mental illness, and aid in coping in a stressful world. Community mental health acknowledges the relation between mental health, population pressures, and social unrest. It also deals with social problems, from drug addiction to suicide prevention. Treatment of the mentally ill through the ages has ranged from neglect, ill treatment, and isolation to active treatment and integration into the community, often in response to crusading reformers. Prevention of mental illness includes prenatal care, child-abuse awareness programs, and counseling for crime victims. Treatment includes psychotherapy, drug therapy, and support groups. One of the most important efforts is public education to combat the stigma still attached to mental illness and encourage those affected to seek treatment.
Learn more about mental hygiene with a free trial on Britannica.com.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the US Federal agency charged with improving the quality and availability of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitative services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, and cost to society resulting from substance abuse and mental illnesses. SAMHSA is a branch of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
As of January 2007, SAMHSA's Administrator is Terry Cline, Ph.D., who reports to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt. Cline replaced Charles Curie, who resigned in May 2006. The building is located in Rockville, Maryland.
SAMHSA consists of three centers and five offices. They are:
Their budget for the Fiscal Year 2008 is about $3.2 billion. It has been re-authorized for the upcoming year by the current presidential administration.
In 2002, President George W. Bush established the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. The resulting report would provide the foundation for Mental Health Services for the Federal Government. There remain many critics on this report "Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America" (read: Opposition of New Freedom Commission on Mental Health)