The nations mental healthcare system for serious mental illness has earned a D average, the same grade it received when the National Alliance on Mental Illness last published Grading the States: A Report on Americas Mental Health Care System for Serious Mental Illness in 2006.
While 14 states have improved their grades in the past three years, the countrys national average has remained stagnant. No state earned an A grade, and six statesArkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyomingearned Fs. Meanwhile, the following six states earned the highest grade, a B: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oklahoma. But the report cautioned that even those states need improvement. Further, while the B states scored better than others on a series of measures, their performance shares a critical limitation with all the states: they do not know what share of people in need their systems serve, or how well people fare once they are served, the report stated.
To improve the nations mental healthcare system, according to the report, governors and both federal and state legislators should focus on the following five essential areas: increase public funding for mental healthcare services; improve data collection, outcomes measurement and accountability; integrate mental and physical healthcare; promote recovery and respect; and increase services for people with serious mental illness who are most at risk.