The Alignment for Progress:

A National Strategy for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

A dynamic resource for federal policymakers that lays the groundwork for a community system of care and defines a shared path forward toward better mental health and substance use care for all.

Why Do We Need a National Strategy for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders?

The United States is experiencing an unprecedented mental health and substance use crisis. The evidence is clear: the current system of mental health and substance use care is not working. And it’s costing the country more in lost productivity, downstream medical costs, and shortened lives than better care will cost.

Open a newspaper, watch television, or spend time on social media: concern about mental health and substance use is on people’s minds. That’s why it’s time for a meaningful national conversation about these issues. And more: it’s time to remove the barriers to equitable and available coverage for these conditions so people can get the help they need. Because we know the barriers are a lack of aligned action, not a lack of need.

100K +

people have died from overdoses in the U.S. in 2021.


of high school students have seriously considered suicide in the U.S. in 2021.

The Alignment for Progress Areas of Focus

Based on a robust data collection effort, including consultations with partners, surveys, and reviews of existing policy recommendations from stakeholders across the MH/SUD space, The Kennedy Forum (TKF) grouped recommendations into high-level categories.

A Message from Our Founder

“What we need at this moment is to think big and to act big. This is about saving our families. Because every single family is affected by these illnesses.”
Patrick J. Kennedy
Former Congressman (D-RI) and Founder of The Kennedy Forum
Read Patrick's Message
“Our goal is a future where mental illness and substance use is prevented when possible and, when not, treated, effectively and equally for all. A future where recovery is as celebrated as remission, and where therapy is as valued as therapeutics. As our families grow stronger, so will our communities and so will our country. The results will be nothing short of revolutionary: happier, healthier children; a more fulfilled workforce; a stronger economy; a better world for us now and for many generations to come.”
rebecca o. bagley
President & CEO of The Kennedy Forum
Read Rebecca's Message

Won't You Join Us?

The Alignment for Progress: A National Strategy for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders is part of a larger movement that seeks to combine vision, commitment, and investment to redirect the future of care to ensure mental health as essential health.

Learn more about the Alignment for Progress movement by clicking through to the full site, or join us today on social media. Together we can make a difference.

Diverse Workforce
Research & Technology
Parity, Coverage, & Equitable Access
Emergency & Crisis Response
Prevention, Early Intervention, & Youth
Environmental Justice
Food Security
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Sexual and Gender Minorities/LGBTQ+
Legal System-Involved Individuals
Rural Communities
People with Physical Disabilities
Older Adults
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Black/African American
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Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI)
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Active Military
Federal Employee Health Plans
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Medical Necessity Determinations
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Executive Office of the President (EOP)
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