The current landscape of mental health services reflects both tremendous challenges and opportunities. With the impact of COVID-19 front and center in the national discourse, and the planning for a system involving a 988-crisis response, there is much work ahead. This paper, Ready to Respond, is the umbrella paper for the 2021 technical assistance coalition series developed through the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It aims to lay out a roadmap as states emerge from the pandemic and need, more than ever, a full continuum of psychiatric care. As an outgrowth of a policy framework looking “beyond beds” within inpatient state hospitals as a single solution to improving mental health outcomes, the current discourse centers around access to crisis services. Yet, in order to best respond to demand, an entire array of services is needed both to prevent crises in the first place and to provide longer term supports beyond a crisis period for diverse populations of all ages with mental illness and substance use disorders, as well as those with co-occurring complex conditions. These services will require coordinated funding and planning with a broad group of stakeholders to address among other things equity and reducing the likelihood of suicide, overdose, criminal legal entanglements, homelessness, unemployment, or other untoward outcomes. The paper reviews recent behavioral health system demands and highlights seven key priority areas for consideration to build a sustainable, robust and more complete psychiatric care continuum. Read more.