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Today NAMI released a new publication, State Legislation Report: Trends in State Mental Health Policy (2019), a report that summarizes and showcases significant state mental health legislation from 2019 in advance of upcoming 2021 state legislative sessions. State legislatures are often the drivers of mental health policy and NAMI offers this report as a potential roadmap for policymakers and mental health advocates looking to create positive policy change in their states.
NAMI’s State Legislation Report: Trends in State Mental Health Policy (2019) analyzes standout pieces of 2019 legislation from the 50 states and Washington, DC, explains key trends in state mental health policy and offers lessons from NAMI State Organization leaders who played an important role in shaping some of these policies. While this report’s analysis is limited to 2019 legislation, the solutions contained within are effective strategies to implement at any time.
The report’s analysis is framed around the three pillars of NAMI 2020–2025 Strategic Plan: that people should get help early, get the best possible care and get diverted from justice system involvement. The report further breaks up legislation within areas of focus that represent issues of critical importance to NAMI’s mission and that also saw significant legislative action in 2019. Those issues include: Early Intervention, Mental Health Education, Suicide Prevention, Medicaid and State-Regulated Health Insurance Coverage, Mental Health and Substance Use Parity, Medication Access, Continuum of Mental Health Services, Mental Health Workforce, Inclusive and Culturally Competent Care, Crisis Response, Diversion, and Rehabilitation and Reentry.
As the report concludes, 2019 saw an extensive number of mental health-related bills introduced and clear areas of progress emerged across the states. Major trends included instituting mental health education, protecting Medicaid funding and coverage, implementing mental health and substance use parity and reforming mental health crisis response.
More details on these and many other issues impacting the quality of life for individuals with mental health conditions and their families can be found in the report.