Al Guida spent seven years coordinating state and federal government affairs at the National Mental Health Association, and founded NMHA’s State Health Care Reform Department. In that capacity, he amassed considerable experience in the mental health policy arena. For example, Al played a role in passing mental health parity legislation in 1996, secured provisions in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) mandating the provision of mental health care for eligible youngsters, and assisted in increasing federal funding for the Children’s Mental Health Services Program.
Since starting GSC, Al has assisted the Eli Lilly and Company to battle proposals by the Veterans Administration to impose fail first policies on veterans struggling with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He also consulted with the Gallup Organization on a public education program financed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to fight the social stigma associated with mental illness; this project will be focused on state capitals in California, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Texas, Massachusetts and Wisconsin. Al is also helping Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (CHADD) sponsor congressional staff briefings on the science of ADHD, primarily in response to continuous attack from anti-psychiatry organizations.
Finally, Al recently partnered with a public relations firm (GYMR) on a program to assist the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in fighting state efforts to reduce Medicaid financed access to vital prescription medications and community-based services. Immediately prior to becoming an independent consultant, Al was Executive Director of the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign, which ran public service advertising on the MTV Music Network, again addressing the stigma of mental disorders among young people.