Clinical Support System for Serious Mental Illness

Visit SMI Adviser

Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the United States, or 10.4 million people, lives with a serious mental illness (SMI), which includes a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or recurrent major depression. These illnesses are three of the top six causes of years lived with disability. There are effective psychopharmacological and psychosocial treatments that support improved functioning and quality of life. Unfortunately, only 65% of people with these diagnoses receive these effective treatments.

American Psychiatric Association was awarded a five-year, $14.2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to establish a Clinical Support System for Serious Mental Illness, also known as SMI Adviser, to close this gap in care quality.

SMI Adviser transforms care by offering technical assistance to the field such as free consultations with clinical experts; vetted resources and guidance; and educational opportunities. SMI Adviser's mission is to advance the use of a person-centered approach to care that ensures people who have serious mental illness find the treatment and support they need.

SMI Adviser Transforms Care

SMI Adviser invites clinicians to connect with clinical experts and find evidence-based answers that support your clinical decisions for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or recurrent major depression. You can access all that SMI Adviser offers at


A unique, hands-on, personalized service for all mental health clinicians.

Any mental health professionals—psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, psychologists, counselors, and peer specialists—can submit questions on SMI to our national experts. Receive evidence-based guidance within one business day. It only takes two minutes to submit a question and is completely confidential and FREE to use.

Ask our SMI experts about psychopharmacology, therapies, recovery supports, patient and family engagement, comorbidities, and more. Visit

Knowledge Base Resources and Guidance

A searchable online database that provides hundreds of questions, answers and vetted resources around SMI. Our website offers versions of the Knowledge Base for both Clinicians and Individuals and Families. You can search by topic area, or simply type something into the main search bar. All information is reviewed and approved by members of our Clinical Expert Team. Visit

Educational Opportunities

SMI Adviser offers live webinars and dozens of on-demand courses on topics related to SMI. Hear evidence-based insights, participate in live Q&A with faculty, earn CME/NCPD/CE credits, and enhance your clinical practice with guidance from experts. Visit

Specialized Centers of Excellence in Clozapine, AOT, LAIs, and more

Direct access to resources, education, consultations, and tools on topics of critical importance to all clinicians who work with individuals who have SMI.

In addition to the website, SMI Adviser offers two mobile apps that are both available in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

  • SMI Adviser Mobile App offers full access to all website features plus clinical rating scales that tabulate and interpret scores in real time.
  • My Mental Health Crisis Plan allows individuals to create and share psychiatric advance directives (PADs) to guide their care during times of crisis.

APA leads a broad team of experts and 30+ national mental health organizations that help guide SMI Adviser.

The Core Clinical Team:


Teri Brister, Ph.D., L.P.C.

SMI Patient and Family Engagement Expert
National Alliance on Mental Illness


Amy N. Cohen, Ph.D.

SMI Implementation Science and Psychological Treatment Expert
University of California, Los Angeles

Robert Cotes

Robert Cotes, M.D.

SMI Psychiatry Expert
Emory University


Benjamin Druss, M.D.

SMI Health Systems Expert
Emory University


Patrick Hendry

SMI Recovery and Peer-to-Peer Engagement Expert
Mental Health America


Donna Rolin, Ph.D., A.P.R.N.

SMI Nursing Expert
University of Texas, Austin


John Torous, M.D., M.B.I.

SMI Technology Expert
Harvard Medical School


Joseph Ventura, Ph.D.

SMI Psychology Expert
University of California, Los Angeles

Content Partners:

Clinical experts from these organizations provide content and resources for SMI Adviser.

  • American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
  • American Psychiatric Nurses Association
  • Arlington County Behavioral Health Division (Va.)
  • Duke University
  • Emory University Rollins School of Public Health
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Mental Health America
  • National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
  • Northwell Health
  • NRI
  • University of Michigan
  • Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care
  • Stanford University
  • Treatment Advocacy Center

Advisory Board:

Experts from these organizations advise the strategic planning of SMI Adviser.

  • Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry
  • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • American Association of Community Psychiatrists
  • American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry
  • American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training
  • College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists
  • National Association of Counties
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • National Association for Behavioral Healthcare
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Representative from the consumer community
  • Representative of a family member with lived experience


Contact Information

For media inquiries, contact:

Visit SMI Adviser

Funding for this initiative was made possible (in part) by grant no. 1H79SM080818-01 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.