The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today the appointment of national experts to guide a new initiative to better serve Americans with serious mental illness.

The Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) was established by the 21st Century Cures Act to improve federal coordination of efforts that address the pressing needs of adults with serious mental illness and children and youth with serious emotional disturbance.  Individuals with these conditions too often lack access to evidence-based treatment and supports and experience high rates of suicide, unemployment, homelessness, criminal justice involvement and other negative outcomes.

The ISMICC is composed of senior leaders from 10 federal agencies including HHS, the departments of Justice, Labor, Veteran Affairs, Defense, Housing and Urban Development, Education, Labor and the Social Security Administration along with 14 non-federal public members.

In response to a call for interested participants, HHS received over 200 nominations from outstanding individuals offering to serve on this important body.  The non-federal membership will represent mental health researchers, providers, patients, families, judges, law enforcement officers, and other professionals working with individuals living with serious mental illness.

The first meeting will be Aug. 31.