Past Releases: Mental Health System Graded D
People with Serious Mental Illnesses Continue to be Shortchanged
Contact Communications@thenationalcouncil.org or 202.684.7457, ext.228 for interviews with mental health experts.
America’s mental health system is in dire need of a stimulus. A state-by-state report card released by the National Alliance on Mental Illness on March 11, 2009, gave the nation’s mental health system a D grade overall.
“The NAMI report card confirms what the National Council is hearing from centers around the country that treat people with mental illnesses. Treatment center after treatment center is experiencing increased demand and has fewer resources to meet the need. 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. Fourteen states improved their grades while 12 states fell backwards since NAMI's last report card in 2006. The national average remained a D.
“At a time of increasing demand for services, mental health centers have shown amazing commitment and creativity — looking for alternative funding sources and implementing quality improvement measures so they can serve more people 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,” said Chris Loftis, Director of State Policy at the National Council.
The National Council commends NAMI for undertaking the extensive effort to grade the states, endorsing the report’s key recommendations, many of which are closely aligned with the National Council’s 2009 policy agenda:
• Increase funding for mental health services.
• Ensure people with serious mental illnesses get care for their physical health problems.
• Replace confusing and erratic state data collection efforts with uniform national standards.
• Offer incentives to address the workforce shortage.
• Implement a coherent response to treatment non-adherence.
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.