The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was established by an act of Congress in 1992 under Public Law 102-321. With the stroke of a pen, an agency, separate and distinct from the National Institutes of Health or any other agency within the HHS, was created to focus attention, programs, and funding on improving the lives of people with or at risk for mental and substance abuse disorders.
Much has changed since then in the mental health and substance abuse fields, and so, too, has SAMHSA. To that end, SAMHSA's mission and vision have been more sharply focused and aligned with HHS goals and President Bush's administration priorities. It is a vision consistent with the President's New Freedom Initiative that promotes a life in the community for everyone. Moreover, SAMHSA is achieving that vision through a mission that is both action-oriented and measurable: to build resilience and facilitate recovery for people with or at risk for substance abuse and mental illness. In collaboration with the States, national and local community-based and faith-based organizations, and public and private sector providers, SAMHSA is working to ensure that people with or at risk for a mental or addictive disorder have the opportunity for a fulfilling life that includes a job, a home, and meaningful relationships with family and friends.