Public Policy Priorities

Advocacy Goals

  • Directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a multi-sectoral study to examine the cost impact of severe mental illnesses on the nation’s housing, health care, and penal systems while also conducting a system-wide epidemiologic study on schizophrenia and serious mental illness. This will update the first Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) program of research commissioned in 1977.
  • Significantly increasing the annual NIMH clinical research budget allocations for evidence-based studies with the best potential to improve outcomes for individuals with schizophrenia.
  • Reauthorizing the 21st Century Cures Act to include funding for priorities that serve individuals living with schizophrenia.
  • Establishing schizophrenia as a neurodevelopmental, neurological medical condition.


  • Transforming the treatment paradigm to a whole person-focused model with an integrated team of psychiatrists, neurologists, and other providers.
  • Making incarceration and homelessness unacceptable outcomes for those living with schizophrenia or schizophrenia-related illnesses.
  • Replacing incarceration and homelessness with medical treatment, entitlements, and supportive housing with clinical services.
  • Eliminating the Medicaid Institution for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion to increase available treatment beds.
  • Evaluating why there are differences in HIPAA implementation between physical health care (PHC) and behavioral health care (BHC) and evaluating the use of “responsible parties.”
  • Partnering with industry professionals to accelerate the promotion of clinical trials and recruitment.
  • Reducing misunderstanding and discrimination against those living with schizophrenia or schizophrenia-related illnesses through education and policy changes.
  • Promoting timely and appropriate diagnoses, treatments, peer support intervention, and education.

Patient Health Care Costs:

For individuals living with a mental illness, ensuring medications best match the needs of the patient is paramount to delivering the best health care outcomes. To do so, many rely on Medicare to access the medications they need to live healthy and productive lives. We are concerned about policies which have the potential to alter the Medicare program in such a way that patient access to innovative therapies may be curtailed.
Whether that access is limited by an international pricing index or government arbitration and negotiation, any narrowing of the pool of available medications is unacceptable. S&PAA favors solutions that will broaden the treatment and preserve the quality of care for our most vulnerable and suffering of our loved ones, colleagues, neighbors and friends.

Public Policy Priorities

Schizophrenia & Psychosis Action Alliance supports policies that improve access to affordable mental health and related services including, but not limited to:


Providing increased access to appropriate treatment by a comprehensive, integrated team of encompassing psychiatrists, neurologists, and other providers

Building on the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act by continuing to expand access to public and private psychiatric hospitals through exceptions to the Medicaid Institution for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion

Double federal appropriations for the Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Reduce incarceration of the mentally ill by authorizing Medicaid financing for the Crisis Now model and CAHOOTS programming to partner peer specialists and mental health professionals with police officers responding to citizens experiencing psychotic episodes