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Overview & Grades    |    Key Findings    |    Policy Recommendations    |    Conclusion

Executive Summary

Policy Recommendations

To transform our nation’s mental health care system, the federal government, governors, and state legislators must take action in five key areas. This report offers specific recommendations in each area. Chapter 4 highlights states that are currently supporting some of these critical steps.

1. Increase Public Funding for Mental Health Care Services

  • Institute modest tax increases
  • Reallocate resources
  • Establish dedicated trusts

2. Improve Data Collection, Outcomes Measurement, and Accountability

  • Establish firm federal leadership
  • Reestablish priority for mental health data collection at the federal level
  • Standardize data collection within (and across) states
  • Report on evidence-based practices
  • Track wait times in emergency rooms

3. Integrate Mental and Physical Health Care

  • Expand pilot programs that link physical and mental health
  • Co-locate primary care physicians and psychiatrists in clinics
  • Cover preventive care in private and public health insurance plans
  • Increase use of health and wellness programs

4. Promote Recovery and Respect

  • Employ peer specialists
  • Fund peer-run services
  • Fund peer-education programs
  • Provide culturally and linguistically competent services
  • Invest resources in reducing human rights violations
  • Increase employment opportunities
  • Increase housing opportunities

5. Increase Services for People with Serious Mental Illnesses Who are Most at Risk

  • Eliminate the Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion
  • Implement a coherent response on non-adherence to treatment, including peer counseling, psychiatric advance directives, treatment guardianships, and assisted outpatient treatment
  • Adopt incentives to increase the qualified mental health workforce

Continue to Conclusion  >>

"I prefer to use the terms 'manage' and 'coping' rather than recovery. (It's like) my struggle with heart disease. Given the limits of modern medicine, I'll never recover from my damaged heart, but I've learned to manage the symptoms."

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