National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Grading the States 2006: Introduction - Methodology
Three landmark documents guide the report's overall vision:
"Evidence-based practices" (EBPs), as based on those promoted by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), are those in which treatment methods have been measured against outcomes. These EBPs also provide a foundation for the report. They include Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), integrated dual diagnosis treatment (IDDT) for co-occurring disorders, illness management and recovery, supported employment, and family psycho-education.
Each state's progress toward a proven, cost-effective system of mental healthcare is indicated by a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F. These are discussed in individual narratives in the state by state section of this site. Each grade is calculated in part from 39 specific criteria organized in four categories:
Specific scores for each of the 39 criteria for each state appear in tables accompanying each state narrative.
The national grade was calculated as an average of the state grades, both overall and by category. In addition, the reader can quickly compare state systems by referring to tables in the report that list states grouped by grade and that list all states' scores for each of the 39 criteria.
The evaluation of existing state systems relied on four principal sources:
A more detailed explanation of the scoring methodology can be found in the Methodology Section. A discussion of the Consumer and Family Test Drive can also be found there.
Information constantly changes. We have worked to make the report as accurate and up-to-date as possible. We also worked with states to address concerns or clarifications to improve the report during the research process. We look forward to receiving additional written comments and refining the methodology over time. It is important to see the grades as a baseline or starting point for the future.
Keep in mind also that NAMI members represent people with serious mental illnesses and their families. We are the "customers" whom state agencies serve. The perspective of this report is ultimately that of the people for whom the criteria, overall, may make the difference between recovery or premature death.