State Mental Health Care Systems Get ‘D’ Grade
State mental health care systems nationwide received an average grade of D in a report released on Wednesday by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, CQ HealthBeat reports. For the report, NAMI evaluated states on 39 different criteria, including mental health care infrastructure, information accessibility, services and recovery support.
NAMI collected data from surveys filled out by state mental health officials as well as public information, according to CQ HealthBeat.
The report gave eight states -- Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota -- grades of F, while Connecticut, Maine, Ohio, South Carolina and Wisconsin were awarded a B (Rooney, CQ HealthBeat, 3/1). No state received an A, the Arizona Daily Star reports (McClain, Arizona Daily Star, 3/2).
Ten states received D grades, and 17 received C grades (AP/Nevada Appeal, 3/1).
New York and Colorado received U grades because they did not respond to NAMI's surveys.
According to NAMI Medical Director Kenneth Duckworth, the amount of information a state offered to mentally ill patients was heavily weighted in grading. He said some state's mental health care Web sites are "abysmal," adding that "people should be able to get reasonable information." Duckworth said states need to develop more creative ways to generate funding for mental health care.
NAMI President Suzanne Vogel-Scibilia said, "The public mental health care system is a nightmare in state after state," adding, "Mistakes are being made. Money is being mis-spent."
NAMI Executive Director Michael Fitzpatrick said Congress should pass a national mental health parity law and expand existing mental health legislation but that states might need to start taking action first.
According to NAMI, the study, titled "Grading the States: A Report on America's Health Care System for Serious Mental Illnesses," is the first state-by-state evaluation of mental health care in 15 years (CQ HealthBeat, 3/1).
The report is available online.