The Campaign for Mental Health Reform was established to seize opportunities resulting from the work of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. The Commission's Final Report in July 2003 called for "transformation" of a system deemed by many to be a shameful waste of lives and resources, a system "in shambles," according to the Commission's chair. The organizations initiating the Campaign hoped, in turn, to transform the Commission's work into meaningful change in federal mental health policy. As the Campaign and the environment in which it operates have evolved since the Commission was active, the focus of the Campaign has turned increasingly towards ensuring that the nation's healthcare system is aligned not only to ensure access, quality care, and cost-effectiveness, but also to promote recovery from mental illnesses, to encourage resiliency, to be consumer- and family-driven and, most of all, to reflect an understanding that mental health is integral to overall health.
While all Campaign partners engage in meaningful and effective advocacy in their own right, it is the Campaign's purpose to marshal the resources of the mental health advocacy community on strategically selected federal policy issues. The Campaign works with policy makers and with the broader advocacy and policy communities to develop a coordinated and coherent approach by the federal government to the complex task of mental health service delivery.