National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Grading the States 2009: Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the report's recommendations?
The federal government, governors, and state legislators must take action in five key areas:
Increase Public Funding for Mental Health Care Services
Improve Data Collection, Outcomes Measurement, and Accountability
Integrate Mental and Physical Health Care
Promote Recovery and Respect
Increase Services for People with Serious Mental Illnesses Who are Most at Risk
Q. How will states pay for reforms?
Several strategies exist. One is to simply increase investment. Anothers is reinvestment i.e. in which costs are shifted into the mental health care system from other areas where they may be currently imposed (such as jails). Another is to insist on investment in proven, cost-effective services within the system. That's one reason the report emphasizes the importance of standardized data collection, including measurement of outcomes.
The report discusses several innovations states are pursuing to help fund mental health care. They include:
Q. How does mental health care fit into President Obama's health care reform initiative?
Mental health care and physical health care are inseparable. Health care reform should include mental health care reform. During the 2008 campaign, the President expressed support for mental health needs.
The President's health care proposals emphasize preventive care and equity. That should include preventing unnecessary hospitalizations, homelessness, and other costly outcomes that result in the existing mental health care system.
The President's proposals also include collection of cost and outcome data to support cost-effective, evidence-based practices. That's consistent with a main theme of the report. Health care reform is an opportunity to help transform the mental health care system. The federal government has a role to play. The states cannot do it alone.
"[Recovery means] functioning normally within society without mental health issues proving to be a barrier."