NAMI Report Card Shows Nation's Mental Heathcare System in Need of Stimulus Funding

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Public mental health system receives a D grade; individuals with mental health and addictions disorders continue to suffer the consequences.

America's mental health system is in dire need of a stimulus. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) gave the nation's mental health care system a D grade on its state-by-state report card, issued March 11, 2009. The national average grade represents an average of each state's individual grade for a number of different aspects of mental health care, including awareness, funding and improvement over time.

"The NAMI report card confirms what the National Council is hearing from community mental health centers that treat people with mental illnesses around the country. We are seeing treatment center after treatment center experiencing increased demand while receiving fewer resources. Clearly, years of federal and state neglect coupled with the economic downturn have caught up with us," said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare.

State grades for 2009 include six Bs, 18 Cs, 21 Ds and six Fs, based on 65 specific criteria involving every aspect of a state's mental health treatment and support services. Although fourteen states improved their grades, 12 states fell backward since NAMI's last report card in 2006. The national average remained a D.

"At a time of increasing demand for services, community mental health centers have shown amazing commitment and creativity. These mental health organizations have proven remarkably resourceful, searching for alternative funding sources and implementing quality improvement measures in order to serve more individuals without added resources -- but it is time for a bailout. The evidence in NAMI's report card will help us rally the call to reinstate and strengthen state and federal funding for mental health resources nationwide," said Director of State Policy at the National Council Chris Loftis.

The National Council commends NAMI for undertaking the extensive task of grading the states and endorses the report's key recommendations. Many of these recommendations are closely aligned with the National Council's 2009 policy agenda:

  •     Increasing funding for mental health services.
  •     Ensuring people with serious mental illnesses get care for their physical health problems.
  •     Replacing confusing and erratic state data collection efforts with uniform national standards.
  •     Offering incentives to address the workforce shortage.
  •     Implementing a coherent response to treatment non-adherence.

For more information about how the National Council is advocating for community mental health organizations around the country, please visit http://www.TheNationalCouncil.org.

About The National Council:
The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is a not-for-profit, 501(c) (3) association of 1,600 behavioral healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly six million adults, children and families in communities across the country. The National Council and its members bear testimony to the fact that medical, social, psychological and rehabilitation services offered in community settings help people with mental illnesses and addictions disorders recover and lead productive lives. Learn more at http://www.TheNationalCouncil.org.

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