WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28, 2004
CONTACT: Katrina Gay
April 28, 2004, Boston, Massachusetts —NAMI Massachusetts and national and state partners gathered in Boston for the release of the Campaign for the Mind of America’s report, The State of the Mental Health System in Massachusetts which outlines the scope of the mental health crisis in Massachusetts.
Nearly 68 thousand of Massachusetts’ citizens are eligible for treatment and services through the state’s Medicaid program, yet half of these individuals do not have access to treatment and services they need. The Campaign report chronicles a history of ineffective and insufficient services and community resolutions that have continued to fail the citizens of Massachusetts.
"As a judge and the former Chairman of the District Court Committee on Mental Health and Retardation, I have witnessed first-hand evidence in our courtrooms of our neglect of persons with mental illness—people who need treatment and medication, housing and employment, not incarceration. As a society, we can and must do better. We cannot afford as a state to neglect the needs of this very fragile population," said Judge Maurice Richardson.
NAMI Massachusetts, national experts, and statewide partners will be encouraging policymakers to make smart budget decisions and implement services and supports that will benefit consumers with mental illness, their families, the community, and the commonwealth.
"While cutting mental health services and treatments may result in short term budget savings, the long term impact of untreated mental disorders is much greater," said Mike Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, NAMI National. "The Campaign for the Mind of America is working in Massachusetts to ensure that as the state faces tough fiscal choices, they make smart decisions."
Untreated mental illness costs the nation more than $100 billion annually to lost productivity. When the diverted resources of those in law enforcement, education, and health care that are acting as the de facto front line of mental health treatment are added, the cost rises to more than $100 billion per year.
"In every community, this public crisis is having devastating effects on education, law enforcement, health care and business," said Fitzpatrick. "Community leaders know the impact and understand the effects of a failed system. We stand together to try to solve this problem in a new way."
The report is available at www.nami.org
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