Mental Health America of Virginia serves as the administrator for the Behavioral Health Advisory Council.

The mission of the Virginia Behavioral Health Advisory Council is to advocate for person-centered system of care that reflects the highest quality of health and wellness in all aspects of life.

The vision of Virginia Behavioral Health Advisory Council is to advocate for person-centered behavioral health policies and services across Virginia.

The Council serves as the primary, ongoing forum for identifying and building a consensus among consumers, families, advocates, providers, planners, and state agencies. This collaboration will ensure a system of treatment, services, and support of high quality care for children, adults, and elders who suffer from serious emotional disturbances, mental and behavioral health conditions, and substance abuse.

The Council annually reviews all expenditures and budgets in the state system for mental health and substance abuse services to satisfy the federal mandate that monies spent do not conflict with the restrictions of the federal mandate. This review includes the Federal Block Grant Application and the Mental and Behavioral Health Plan(s) of Virginia. Additionally, the Council reviews all other plans developed by the state that will impact mental health and substance abuse consumers; this includes (but is not limited to) the state's six year Comprehensive State Plan and the Community Services Performance Contract.

The Council continuously monitors, evaluates and reviews the implementation of the Commonwealth’s Mental and Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Plans including:

    1. the allocation, adequacy, and quality of mental and behavioral health (including substance abuse services) to children with serious emotional disturbances, mental and behavioral health conditions/disorders, and adults with serious mental illness
    2. the consistency between existing services and the Commonwealth's stated values, priorities, and goals
    3. the plan’s impact on improving the quality of life for Virginia’s mental and behavioral health consumers and their families
    4. direct observation, visitation, and interviews with consumers/peers, family members, providers, and advocates with regard to the programs, facilities, and human rights provisions of the Commonwealth

The Council makes recommendations to the various departments and agencies that serve and/or fund services for consumers and their families including but not limited to: the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), the Board of the DBHDS, and the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Council also monitors the legislative and executive activities of the General Assembly and and makes recommendations to the state Executive and Legislative Committees, whose actions affect consumers and their families.

For more information about the Council, please contact Bruce Cruser, BHAC Administrator, by email at or by calling (804) 257-5591 ext. 102.


The Virginia Behavioral Health Advisory Council's regular meetings are held from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM on the third Wednesday of February, April, June, August and October, and the second Wednesday of December.  Meetings are generally held in the Richmond area, and the public is invited to attend. To attend, please email in order to obtain access to the meeting.