Arkansas Behavioral Health Planning and Advisory Council

What are State Behavioral Health Planning and Advisory Councils?

In 1986, the federal government passed a law that changed the way that mental healthcare was provided on the state level. Instead of top-down, medical professional-driven care, the planning process now had to include various stakeholder groups: consumers of mental health services, family members of adults with serious mental illness, representatives from state agencies as well as public and private entities concerned with the need, planning, operation, funding, and use of mental health services and related support services.

The Arkansas Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council was formed in 1989. The council continues to meet to this day. However, in effort to become more inclusive, the council was renamed the Arkansas Behavioral Health Planning and Advisory Council (ABHPAC).

What are ABHPAC’s duties?

The purpose of the planning council is to involve concerned citizens and stakeholders in planning and evaluating the behavioral health service delivery in Arkansas.  ABHPAC’s mandate is to:

  • Review plans provided to the Council pursuant to section 1915(a) by the State involved and to submit to the State any recommendations of the Council for modifications to the plans;
  • Serve as an advocate for adults with a serious mental illness, children with a severe emotional disturbance, and other individuals with mental illnesses or emotional problems; and
  • Monitor, review, and evaluate, not less than once each year, the allocation and adequacy of mental health services within the State


The Council is composed of  advocates, providers, consumers, family members and representatives of state and private agencies who advise the Division of Behavioral Health Services, state legislature, and governor. Meetings are held every two months and the committee work structure is: block grant and service review, advocacy, and system evaluation.

ABHPAC invites you to consider membership in this important organization. Your knowledge, experience and insight are vital to the achievement of our goals. We seek a variety of viewpoints to be sure we consider the needs of all. For more information on meetings and membership please contact us at (800) 844 0381, DAABHS Liaison Bridget Atkins at 501-686-9515 or click on ABHPAC Facebook page.