State Mental Health Authority Level of Involvement in Coordinated Specialty Care Clinics and Client Outcomes

Psychiatr Serv. 2023 Mar 1;74(3):250-256. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2022 Sep 21.


Objective: State mental health authorities (SMHAs) in all U.S. states and territories administer the Mental Health Block Grant (MHBG) set-aside funding for first-episode psychosis. Funds support implementation of coordinated specialty care (CSC) programs. The authors investigated the relationship between the level of SMHA involvement with CSC programs and clinical outcomes of clients in these programs.

Methods: As part of a mixed-methods study of 34 CSC programs, SMHAs from 21 states and one U.S. territory associated with the 34 CSC programs participated in a 1-hour interview (between November 2018 and May 2019) focused on SMHA involvement in administration of MHBG set-aside funds and the SMHA's ongoing relationship with funded CSC programs. SMHA involvement was rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 indicating the highest involvement. Client outcome data were collected at the 34 study sites over an 18-month period. Multilevel random-effect modeling was used, controlling for response propensity (propensity score), client demographic variables, and program-level covariates (i.e., fidelity score, staff turnover rates, service area urbanicity, and number of clients enrolled).

Results: Clients in CSC programs with SMHAs that were the most involved (level 5) had significantly improved symptoms, social functioning, and role functioning, compared with clients in programs with which SMHAs were least involved (level 1).

Conclusions: The findings suggest that increased SMHA involvement in CSC programs is relevant for positive client outcomes. Levels of first-episode psychosis funding doubled in 2021 and 2022, and it is important to identify how SMHAs affect the success of CSC programs and the individuals served.

Keywords: Coordinated specialty care; Early intervention; Early psychosis; First-episode psychosis; Public policy issues; State mental health policy.

MeSH terms

  • Early Medical Intervention / methods
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Psychotic Disorders*