About the Alignment for Progress: 
A National Strategy for Mental Health & Substance Use Disorders

The National Strategy exists as one element of the Alignment for Progress Movement. The Strategy is the first-of-its-kind, comprehensive set of policy recommendations for federal policymakers. No matter which congressional committee or federal agency, every part of the federal government has a role to play as demonstrated by the recommendations in the National  Strategy.

The Time To Act Is Now

We find ourselves in a critical moment of need—and of opportunity. In the aftermath of a global pandemic and amid ongoing economic uncertainty, the United States is experiencing an unprecedented mental health and substance use crisis.

The Strategy should serve as a guidepost for federal policymakers and agencies looking for concrete, actionable, and scalable recommendations to improve  our mental health and substance use systems.

We envision the advocacy and policy-making communities aligning behind these recommendations to make transformative progress in the mental health and substance use care systems:  Advocates by championing recommendations aligned with their own missions and policymakers and staff leveraging these recommendations to make improvements to the our systems of care, enforcement of parity, and implementation of coverage across all types of insurance coverage.

Assumptions And Language

The language of mental health and substance use care can be highly stigmatizing. The Recovery Institute has gone so far as to create an Addictionary to help people explore language and understand what is stigmatizing and why.

The Kennedy Forum has taken great care to use language and naming respectfully. However, preferences are as unique as the individuals this terminology describes. The same is true with the choice of person-first language and the language used to describe a social or racial group. We welcome feedback on our use of language in this National Strategy.


After conducting a thorough review of the federal policy landscape, The Kennedy Forum team created this first-of-its-kind compilation of policy recommendations needed to transform our mental health and substance use systems of care. The recommendations have been sourced and vetted from numerous organizations, advocates, and experts across the country in order to capture a robust set of recommendations for lawmakers and federal agencies to act on. Based on consultations with partners, surveys, and reviews of existing policy recommendations from stakeholders across the MH/SUD space, The Kennedy Forum selected and grouped recommendations based on our understanding of the needs and challenges in coverage, policy, and access to care. We further separated these recommendations into high-level areas of focus so that users of this National Strategy can hone in on areas that align with their organizational goals.

Alignment for Progress Leadership

Patrick J. Kennedy

Former U.S. Representative (D-RI) and Founder of The Kennedy Forum

During his time in Congress, Patrick J. Kennedy co-authored the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Federal Parity Law), which requires insurers to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders no more restrictively than treatment for illnesses of the body, such as diabetes and cancer. In 2013, he founded The Kennedy Forum, a nonprofit that unites advocates, business leaders, and government agencies to advance evidence-based practices, policies, and programming in mental health and addiction.

Rebecca O. Bagley

President & CEO of The Kennedy Forum

Through 20+ years of building partnerships and bringing together stakeholders toward common goals, Rebecca has learned the value of technological innovation and diverse networks of professionals in solving complex problems for businesses and communities alike. As President and CEO of The Kennedy Forum, Rebecca helps advance evidence-based practices, policies, and programming for the equal treatment of mental health and addiction.

Partners of The Alignment for Progress

The National Strategy and this database would not be possible without the partnership of advocates, experts, and thought-leaders from communities across the country. Each of our partners bring unique insights, community participation, and cultural competency to strengthen the Strategy and ensure it serves all Americans. We remain grateful for these invaluable contributions and remain committed to instilling these values in each step of the Alignment for Progress Movement.


The CEO Alliance for Mental Health

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Robert Gebbia
American Psychiatric Association
Saul Levin, MD, MPA, FRCP-E
CEO & Medical Director
American Psychological Association
Arthur C. Evans, Jr., PhD
CEO and Exec. Vice President
CEO Alliance for Mental Health
Tyler Norris, MDiv
Visiting Scholar, Federal Reserve Bank of New York (Co-Founder, CEO Alliance for Mental Health)
Massachusetts Association for Mental Health
Danna Mauch, PhD
President and CEO
Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
Andy Keller, PhD
President and CEO
Mental Health America
Schroeder Stribling, MSW
President and CEO
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Daniel H. Gillison, Jr.
CEO (Co-Founder, CEO Alliance for Mental Health)
National Association for Behavioral Healthcare
Shawn Coughlin
President and CEO
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
Anthony Estreet, PhD, MBA, LCSW-C
National Council for Mental Wellbeing
Charles Ingoglia, MSW
President and CEO
One Mind
Garen Staglin, Chairman
Brandon Staglin, President
Peg’s Foundation
Rick Kellar, MBA
President and CEO
Steinberg Institute
Karen Larsen
Treatment Advocacy Center
Lisa Dailey
Executive Director
Well Beings (PBS)
Tom Chiodo
Executive Producer, Special Projects & National Program Development

Commitment Makers

(as of 6/11/2024)

Have a Question About Our Recommendations?