Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor, Education, Defense, and Housing and Urban Development, as well as representatives from state agencies, private foundations, universities, and the public at large. A broad range of disciplines, including medicine (pediatrics, child psychiatry, psychiatry, primary care), psychology, nursing, social work, public health, sociology, and epidemiology, should be represented. The council should meet regularly to coordinate collaborative research across public and private agencies and should monitor the standards for rigorous methodological approaches to preventive intervention research. Terms on the council for nonfederal representatives should be limited. To provide ongoing executive leadership, the chair of the council should be appointed by the President. Other leadership positions could be selected from the nonfederal representatives. The council should have its own paid staff, including a coordinator with staff, who operates out of an office of prevention of mental disorders. The office should oversee and coordinate the daily operations of preventive intervention activities in all areas that are related to mental health across the federal government. The staff of the office should be responsible to the council. The council should report regularly, at least once a year, to the Congress and the President.
The committee also strongly recommends that Congress encourage the establishment of offices for prevention of mental disorders at the state level. The current number of such offices is small even though the states have resources for prevention available to them through the state block grants. A mechanism to encourage the development of state offices would be a requirement attached to the block grants, and as health care reform is developed other possibilities may occur. The functions of these offices should be similar to those of the proposed national scientific council on the prevention of mental disorders. States that do establish such offices should, as a group, elect representatives to the national scientific council.
Agencies must be required to identify their funded programs for the prevention of mental disorders, separately accounting for universal, selective, and indicated preventive interventions, using the definitions developed in this report. Congress should ask for separate accounting of these different kinds of preventive interventions when agencies report on the activities they support.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) should consider including prevention researchers with broad mental health perspectives on their national advisory councils. The prevention research field must produce more researchers of international stature who can serve on such advisory councils.