Evaluation Technical Assistance Center for Adult Mental Health System Change

Developing a stronger mental health system nationwide

With funding from SAMHSA, we provided instructional materials and tailored technical assistance to the 59 states and territories in the US who receive Block Grants to provide community-based services to people with mental illness.


For 14 years, we assisted Block Grant recipients and subrecipients as they worked to innovate and expand the scope of community-based treatment options for people with mental illness and move away from hospital-based care.

We began this work in 1993, when SAMHSA was newly formed and tasked with Block Grant administration; Block Grants remain a key component of public mental health systems, and many of the materials we produced continue to be used to this day.

  • Evaluation
  • Quality Improvement
  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Technical Assistance and Training
  • Dissemination

Driving mental health systems change

For 14 years, funded by the Center for Mental Health Services within SAMHSA, we operated the Evaluation Center@HSRI, a mental health services research and evaluation technical assistance center. The Center’s mission was to provide technical assistance in evaluation to states, territories, and community-based provider agencies to improve the planning, development, and operation of adult mental health services carried out as part of the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program.

We provided support and education in:

  • Outcomes Measurement
  • Evaluation Methodology and Statistics
  • Managed Care
  • Performance Measurement & Quality
  • Internet Evaluation Issues
  • Multicultural Issues in Evaluation
  • Evidence-based Practices

Covering the bases to improve programs and outcomes 

The Center was composed of seven divisions: 

  • Consultation, providing individually tailored technical assistance 
  • Conferences and Meetings, enhancing the evaluation skills of producers and consumers of evaluations through knowledge exchange during conferences and meetings
  • E-Community, providing opportunities for users to discuss and disseminate evaluation-related information via listservs, electronic bulletin boards and the Center’s website
  • E-Learning & Training, providing guided tours, courses and trainings
  • Evidence-based Practices, producing materials, providing individualized technical assistance, and presenting at conferences and trainings regarding the safety and effectiveness of services and interventions; providing information about how to describe, disseminate, and implement services that have been proven safe and effective
  • Multicultural, developing and sharing information related to multicultural issues in evaluation
  • Toolkits and Materials, producing and sharing informative toolkits and materials

Program Highlights

  • We assisted in developing measures and building the evidence base for then-emerging frameworks like recovery and recovery-oriented service systems.
  • We provided an average of 18 consultations per month.
  • Over 100 toolkits and materials were made available free of charge (and still available for free via hsri.org). 
  • On average, 80 unique users downloaded products from the Center’s website monthly.
  • On average 2,000 unique visitors visited the Center’s website monthly. 

The consultant was very responsive. We had several questions, which the consultant researched and then provided answers to us. He made sure that we received the information and gave us the opportunity to ask additional questions.

User of the Consultation Program


SAMHSA | Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

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