About Us

Representation and Structure

Founded in 1959 and based in Alexandria, VA, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) represents the public mental health service delivery system in all states, territories, Pacific Jurisdictions, and the District of Columbia. NASMHPD (pronounced "NASH-bid") is the only national association to represent state mental health commissioners/directors and their agencies. NASMHPD is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) membership organization. NASMHPD has 8 divisions comprised of directors of special populations/services (Children, Youth & Families; Recovery Support Services, Forensic; Finance Policy; Housing; Legal; Medical Directors; and Older Persons).

NASMHPD's Guiding Mission, Vision, and Values


NASMHPD works with states, territories, Pacific jurisdictions, federal partners, and stakeholders to promote wellness, recovery, and resiliency for individuals with mental health conditions, co-occurring mental health and substance-related disorders, or other conditions that may co-occur with mental health, across all ages and racial, ethnic, and cultural groups.


Wellness, resiliency, and recovery through an easily accessible, equitable, and seamless quality system of integrated care.


We support:

  • Human rights and justice
  • Health and wellness
  • Recovery-oriented and person-centered systems
  • Lived experience and empowerment
  • Creativity and continuous learning
  • Equitable access for all
  • The pursuit of high-quality services
  • Working collaboratively
  • Culturally and linguistically responsive care
  • Effective and efficient management and accountability
  • High quality workforce capacity

Function of NASMHPD

NASMHPD informs its members on current and emerging public policy issues, educates on research findings and best practices, provides consultation and technical assistance, collaborates with key stakeholders, and facilitates state-to-state sharing.

NASMHPD members play a vital role in the delivery, financing, and evaluation of mental health services within a rapidly evolving healthcare environment. The principal programs operated, funded, and/or regulated by NASMHPD members serve people who have serious mental illnesses, intellectual/developmental disabilities, substance use disorders, and other conditions that may co-occur with mental illness. This role impacts many other constituencies as well. In recognition of these mutual interests, NASMHPD has effectively responded to, and collaborated with, other organizations and individuals including those representing individuals served, families, and state mental health planning and advisory councils. The association provides members with the opportunity to exchange diverse views and experiences and learn from one another in areas vital to effective public policy development and implementation.

NASMHPD helps set the agenda and support the direction of state mental health authority interests across the country. NASMHPD provides a broad array of services designed to identify and respond to critical policy issues, cutting-edge consultation, training, and technical assistance.

NASMHPD manages a diverse portfolio of programs focused on effectively identifying and responding to the needs of state mental health agency commissioners/directors and their staff and other entities serving persons with mental health needs. NASMHPD connects commissioners/directors and their staff with support, state-to-state learning, technical assistance, and resources to support them in their roles and ultimately improve the systems they oversee. Technical assistance can cover a variety of administrative, policy, financial, clinical, and program areas. Examples of frequently addressed topics include:

  • Planning and implementation of 988 and crisis services;
  • Building a full continuum of behavioral health care;
  • Promoting trauma-informed practices;
  • Identifying and implementing technology solutions;
  • Promoting programs and policies that support recovery and enhance resilience for individuals across the lifespan;
  • Financing strategies;
  • Workforce development

And many more areas of interest for state mental health agencies.