Wednesday, March 11, 2009

NC given a "D" as a grade for mental health care

Group gives N.C. 'D' for mental health care

A grassroots nonprofit group has given North Carolina a "D" grade for its public mental health system, alleging there have been years of poor decision-making.

“Years of bad policy decisions have left emergency rooms, the criminal justice system and families to shoulder the burden of responding to people living with mental illness in crisis,” said Debra G. Dihoff, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness North Carolina. “Our grade reflects the chaos and disorganization in our state.”

The national report is a follow-up to one published three years ago to measure states' progress in achieving the goals of a presidential commission that called for transforming the mental health care system.

NAMI gave North Carolina a "D" in the previous report, too, and it is one of 23 states that saw no change this year. The national average is "D," remaining stagnant from three years ago. Six states received "B's." Six received "Fs." No state got an "A."

The report card is based on 65 criteria, including access to medication, housing, family education and support to National Guard members.

It includes policy recommendations for federal and state leaders. State governments provided most of the information on which the grades are based.

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