NASMHPD is an organization representing the interests of the nation's state mental health agencies. NASMHPD members - the commissioners and directors of the 56 state and territorial mental health agencies - also appoint their directors of programs to serve on divisions, councils, and workgroups. There are five standing divisions for special populations (Children, Youth & Families; Finance Policy; Forensic; Older Persons; Recovery Support Services; and Legal) and a Medical Directors Council.
The purpose of these entities is to provide technical assistance and expert consultation to the Commissioners/Directors on issues specific to those populations. Each of the divisions and the Medical Directors Council has a Commissioner Division Advisor.
In its early days, NASMHPD maintained a research division that was reconstituted in 1987 as the NASMHPD Research Institute, Inc. (NRI), a separate non-profit organization. The NRI provides the evaluation and data analysis capacity to NASMHPD. The NRI's distinctive competencies include performance measurement systems; data collection and analysis; program assessment; evaluation design and methodology; policy analysis; evidence based practices; information systems development and implementation; human and technical network development and management; knowledge management; and technical assistance on these and related topics.