If you’ve read The Soloist, you are aware of how disabling mental illness can be to lives full of promise. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recently released Grading the States, a report card on the U.S. public mental health care system for adults.
The analysis is based on 65 specific criteria such as access to medicine, housing, family education, and support for National Guard members, and overall the news is not good. The U.S. gets a D, a rating that hasn’t budged since 2006. Across the states, the best grade is B (six states) while there are 18 states with Cs, 21 with Ds and six with Fs. The report includes detailed report cards and recommendations by state.
According to Michael Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of NAMI, “Too many people living with mental illness end up hospitalized, on the street, in jail or dead. We need governors and legislators willing to make investments in change.”
Hopefully, this report, and the imminent release of “The Soloist” movie will generate a national discussion on the need to de-stigmatize mental illness and get people the help they need.