Clinical Support System for Serious Mental Illness

Visit SMI Adviser

Approximately 1 in 25 (11 million) adults in the United States lives with a serious mental illness (SMI) such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or recurrent major depression.

The Clinical Support System for Serious Mental Illness (CSS-SMI) initiative supports implementation of evidence-based, person-centered pharmacological and psychosocial interventions for individuals with SMI, and increasing access to care that includes a set of recovery support services provided by professionals including peer support specialists.

In July 2018, APA was awarded a five-year, $14.2 million grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support this initiative.

What does the project offer?

Using an online portal and app (coming in 2019), the project offers expert consultation services and learning opportunities nationwide to support clinicians —including physicians, nurses, psychologists, recovery specialists, peer-to-peer specialists, and others— who provide evidence-based care for individuals living with SMI.

There are four primary aims of the project:

  • Direct consultation to clinicians engaged in treating individuals with SMI
  • Education on SMI-related evidence-based practices for clinicians, patients and families
  • Support implementation and use of technology to enhance the care of those with SMI
  • Real-time and ongoing needs assessments of clinicians and communities

What kind of education will be available?

The SMI Adviser initiative will develop a number of resources for clinicians who care for individuals with SMI, as well as tools for patients and family members.

These include: webinars, resource centers, fact sheets, implementation guides, toolkits, practice guidelines, and self-management tools.

Additionally, the initiative will act as a clearing house to other national resources dedicated to helping those with SMI.

How will the consultations work?

Clinicians will be able to submit consultations via the SMI Adviser website and app. An automated "answer engine" driven by items already in the SMI Adviser education library will attempt to answer the question automatically. If the question is not answered by the answer engine, it will be referred to one of the members of the core SMI Adviser team for a direct response. The direct response will be sent via email and responses will be added to the answer engine for future questions that might arise that are similar in nature. In this manner, the SMI Adviser website is a self-learning platform that will become more efficient in answering consultation questions over the duration of the program.

When will these services be available?

The SMI Advisor website launched in November 2018. Please visit

Who is involved in this initiative?

There is a core SMI Advisor team who will be providing consultations to those who care for individuals with SMI. Consultations will focus primarily on best-practices related to psychopharmacology, implementation, and patient and family member engagement.

The core team includes:


Tristan Gorrindo, M.D.

Principal Investigator
American Psychiatric Association


Alexander S. Young, M.D., MSHS

SMI Physician Expert
University of California, Los Angeles


Amy N. Cohen, Ph.D.

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


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


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

SMI Patient and Family Engagement Expert
National Alliance on Mental Illness


Patrick Hendry

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


Benjamin Druss, M.D.

SMI Health Systems Expert
Emory University


Mindi Hopkins

Lead Designer for Digital Education and Technology
American Psychiatric Association


Glenn Laudenslager, MBA

Marketing and Engagement Expert
Charge Ahead Marketing

Additionally, there are a number of partner organizations who are providing content expertise and/or advice for strategic planning.

Content Experts:

Above listed core SMI Advisor team plus:

  • American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
  • American Psychiatric Nurses Association
  • Arlington County, Virginia
  • Duke University
  • Emory University Rollins School of Public Health
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • 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:

Above listed core SMI Advisor team, content experts, plus:

  • Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry
  • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • American Academy of PAs
  • American Association of Community Psychiatrists
  • American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry
  • American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training
  • National Association of Counties
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • National Association for Behavioral Healthcare
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • A consumer and a family member representative


How will you know the initiative is successful?

The SMI Advisor website and app (coming in 2019) will allow for tracking of its utilization.

Additionally, the SMI Advisor team will be working closely with a select number of communities identified as having highest need in treating individuals with SMI; these communities will provide data on implementation progress and impact.

A number of clinicians also will be invited to participate in APA's PsychPRO registry, which will allow us to track the impact of the program's implementation on patient health.

Contact Information

For questions about this initiative, contact APA Deputy Medical Director Tristan Gorrindo, MD:

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.