What are State Behavioral Health Planning and Advisory Councils?
In 1986, the federal government passed a law that changed the way that mental healthcare was provided on the state level. Instead of top-down, medical professional-driven care, the planning process now had to include various stakeholder groups: consumers of mental health services; family members of adults with serious mental illness, representatives from state agencies as well as public and private entities concerned with the need, planning, operation, funding, and use of mental health services and related support services.
In Arkansas, the Arkansas Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council was formed in 1989 and continues to meet to this day. However, in effort to become more inclusive, the council was recently renamed the Arkansas Behavioral Health Planning and Advisory Council (ABHPAC).
What are ABHPAC’s duties?
The purpose of the planning council is to involve concerned citizens and stakeholders in planning and evaluating the behavioral health service delivery in Arkansas. ABHPAC’s mandate is to:
- Review community mental health block grant plans and make recommendations to the State administration.
- Monitor, review and evaluate all mental health services throughout the state.
- Serve as advocates for adults with serious mental illnesses, children with severe emotional disturbances, and others with behavioral health needs.
The Council is composed of advocates, providers, consumers, family members and representatives of state and private agencies who advise the Division of Behavioral Health Services, state legislature, and governor. Members are responsible for the oversight of a multi-million dollar block grant.
Membership of ABHPAC is comprised of members from five regional councils. Membership now stands at 49. Regional meetings are held every two months and alternate with state meetings. ABHPAC invites you to consider membership in this important organization. Your knowledge, experience and insight are vital to the achievement of our goals. We seek a variety of viewpoints to be sure we consider the needs of all.