NAMI believes that people should get the best possible mental health care. There are many barriers to accessible, comprehensive and affordable mental health care. Studies show that less than half of adults with mental illness receive treatment in a given year. NAMI’s Trends in Access to Mental Health Care State Policy shows how state policymakers and advocates can address this problem through effective legislation.

This issue brief highlights state legislation enacted in 2023 that will improve access to mental health care, and includes policy recommendations that may be implemented in states across the country, within the following key categories:

  • Mental Health Workforce
  • Parity
  • Medicaid and Private Health Insurance
  • Medication Access
  • Telehealth
  • Statewide Systems Planning

Due to the limited scope of this brief and the breadth of issues impacting access to mental health care, this report is not comprehensive of all issue areas and related legislation.

This brief is the second publication in a larger series – NAMI’s 2023 State Legislation Issue Brief Series – which examines new mental health laws from 2023 addressing criminal justice, 988 and crisis services and youth mental health.


While many barriers currently exist that prevent access, states across the country have been making strides in helping people get the best possible mental health care. We encourage state policymakers to learn from one another and to consider the policy recommendations in this issue brief, using featured legislation as examples, to improve access to care in their states.

NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).