Serious Mental Illness 101

Resources for mental health clinicians who want to build their foundational knowledge and skills for work with individuals who have serious mental illness (SMI)
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Welcome to the Serious Mental Illness 101 Resource Center

SMI Adviser provides an array of helpful resources if you are early in your career, new to the mental health field, or transitioning into a new role. It can be complex when you work with individuals who have SMI. That is why you should invest time to learn about the basics. When you have a strong foundation of knowledge and skills around SMI, you can provide person-centered care and help individuals and families find the best possible outcomes.

Everything that SMI Adviser offers is completely free. Resources that you can access here include:

  • Live and on-demand webinars — browse hundreds of free online courses on topics unique to SMI
  • Clinician-to-clinician consultations — ask questions and receive a personalized response from our national experts within one business day
  • Intensive consultations — our experts can work closely with practices, health systems, and communities to find and implement solutions for systemic issues around SMI
  • Clinical tips and resources — find evidence-based fact sheets, guides, videos, infographics and more

The Serious Mental Illness 101 Resource Center is led by Benjamin Druss, MD, MPH, SMI Adviser Health Systems Expert, and Jose Viruet, LCPC, SMI Adviser Community Care Expert.

  • Resources
  • Education
  • Consultation
Ethical Practice and Boundary Setting for Mental Health Professionals

Clinician’s Guide to Preparing and Administering Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics

How Much Benzodiazepine Prescribing is the Right Amount of Prescribing?

Maximizing Treatment Success for Patients with SMI: Promoting Adherence and Treatment Engagement

Rural and Frontier CSC Considerations to Address Trauma and Race

Strategies for Engaging Individuals & Families in Complicated Treatment Decisions

Strategies for Success: Using Long-Acting Injectable Medications

The American Psychiatric Association Guideline for Treatment of Patients with Schizophrenia

The Treatment of Bipolar Depression: From Pills to Words

A Clinician’s Guide to Violence Risk Assessment in Persons with Serious Mental Illness

Get Expert Guidance on Questions Around Serious Mental Illness

Submit any questions you have on serious mental illness. Receive a response within one business day from one of our national experts.

Are safety plans effective for individuals who have SMI?
Are antidepressants safe for individuals who have bipolar disorder?
What is Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) for people with severe mental illness?

Trending Topics

Use our Knowledge Base to find evidence-based answers and resources on serious mental illness. Here are some new and popular topics — all vetted by our Clinical Expert Team.

Culturally Competent Care for Black American Adults with Serious Mental Illness: Addressing Barriers and Enhancing Clinical Practice

This guide helps you enhance your practice and provide…

10 Tips to Use a Recovery Perspective in Your Practice

When you use a recovery perspective, it transforms how…

Can a primary care provider or family practitioner prescribe psychotropic medications?

In many cases, yes. Primary care doctors prescribe the majority…

Counseling on Access to Lethal Means

Reducing access to lethal means, such as firearms…

Early Intervention in Psychosis: A Primer

This online course is designed for professionals in diverse…

How can I use de-escalation techniques to manage a person in a mental health crisis?

De-escalation techniques are therapeutic interventions that are frequently used to…

How do I assess for suicide in individuals with serious mental illness?

It is impossible to predict accurately which patients will make…

Is peer support effective in working with people experiencing mental health crises?

SAMHSA’s Practice Guidelines on the Core Elements in Responding to…

Mental Health in Rural Communities Toolkit

The Mental Health in Rural Communities Toolkit compiles evidence-based…

Suicide and Serious Mental Illness: An Overview of Considerations, Assessment, and Safety Planning

People who live with serious mental illness (SMI)—such as…

Suicide Prevention, Part 1: Identifying and Predicting Risk, Vulnerable Populations, Public Perceptions, and Priority Settings

Published October 2020

The Psychiatric Services Editor’s Choice provides…

What do APA’s Schizophrenia Treatment Guidelines say about long-acting injectable antipsychotics?

On September 1, 2020, the American Psychiatric Association released a…



Crisis and Risk Management


Diagnosis and First Episode


Psychosocial Interventions


Person-centered Care


Voices of the Population with SMI


Co-occurring Substance Use Disorders


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