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This report is the first comprehensive survey and grading of state adult public mental healthcare systems conducted in more than 15 years. Public systems serve people with serious mental illnesses—such as schizophrenia, bipolar illness, and major depression—who have the lowest incomes. The report confirms in state-by-state detail what President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health called a fragmented "system in shambles." Nationally, the system is in trouble. Its grade is no better than a D. Each state grade is based in part on a "take-home" test, in which survey questions were submitted to state mental health agencies during October and November 2005. All but two states responded. For each responding state, grades in each category and scoring of the 39 criteria appear in the State Narratives section of the report. The report offers several basic policy recommendations: Increase funding tied to performance and outcomes Invest in proven. cost-effective practices (i.e., evidence -based practices) Improve data collection Increase access to information Involve consumers and families in all aspects of the system Eliminate discrimination Each state narrative also includes a list of specific "Innovations"” and "Urgent Needs" to help advocates and policymakers further define agendas for action. An overall list of innovations provides an opportunity for states to learn from one another. Download the report for free or obtain ordering information by visiting the full report page.
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services