Press Releases

Election 2010: State-by-State Data; How Many People with Mental Illness are Being Served? Are Candidates Addressing the Facts?

Sep 28 2010

September 28, 2010

Arlington, Va.State mental health agencies (SMHAs) provide direct services to between 15 to 60 percent of people living with serious mental illnesses in their states, according to state-by-state figures reported today by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

State mental health services are being cut dramatically, however, even as need has increased due to the nation’s economic crisis.

Medicaid is the other major funding source of mental health care for people with serious mental illness, but also has been subject to cuts.

See State Table Below

"State mental health agencies cannot do it alone," said NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "They serve only a fraction of those who need help—and they
struggle to do so with shrinking budgets."

Even without budget cuts, low percentages of people with serious mental illness served by SMHAs may point to weakness in the reach of a state’s overall system of care.

Congress has some responsibility to help strengthen state mental health care systems. Federal mental health block grants have been reduced or frozen over the past 10 years. The impact of cuts in Medicaid-funded state programs also has been softened only through use of federal stimulus funds.

Election 2010 Series

The state figures are offered as part of NAMI’s fourth alert in an Election 2010 series reminding editors, reporters and others to ask all candidates what they intend to do about the nation's mental health crisis.

"Protecting and strengthening state mental health care must be part of the Election 2010 dialogue. In editorial board meetings and community forums, please ask candidates what they will do to help," Fitzpatrick said.

"Every issue in the election involves mental health care—from unemployment to troops returning from war. For example, unemployed workers are four times more likely to report symptoms of mental illness and veterans are twice as likely as civilians to die from suicide."

The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) Research Institute reported in Feb. 2010:

  • Total SMHA budget reductions from FY2009 to FY2011 were about $2 billion.
  • Approximately 90 percent of SMHAs were experiencing budget cuts in FY2010. Almost 75 percent had experienced cuts in FY2009 and the same level proportion expected cuts in FY2011.
  • Over 50 percent have responded by cutting community mental health services and reducing the number of people served. At the same time, SMHAs experienced increased demand for community services, including crisis services, emergency rooms and hospital acute care.

"Weak state mental health care systems end up costing communities more—through lost jobs and careers, broken families, more homelessness, higher insurance costs, more welfare and much more expensive costs for hospital emergency rooms, nursing homes, schools, police and courts, jails and prisons," Fitzpatrick said.

Previous NAMI Election Alerts

State Name  # Adults w/SMI
 (rounded to 1,000)
% Adults w/SMI
Served by SMHA
Alabama 187,000 33
Alaska 24,000 38
Arizona 221,000 18
Arkansas 116,000 25
California 1,175,000 34
Colorado 158,000 16
Connecticut 109,000 25
Delaware 29,000 19
District of Columbia 23,000 42
Florida 660,000 26
Georgia 349,000 21
Hawaii 32,000 45
Idaho 54,000 16
Illinois 421,000 19
Indiana 227,000 15
Iowa 105,000 48
Kansas 95,000 15
Kentucky 181,000 18
Louisiana 183,000 17
Maine 51,000 33
Maryland 175,000 19
Massachusetts 211,000 41
Michigan 348,000 25
Minnesota 168,000 22
Mississippi 125,000 49
Missouri 223,000 25
Montana 39,000 43
Nebraska 61,000 35
Nevada 89,000 20
New Hampshire 43,000 21
New Jersey 259,000 46
New Mexico 72,000 24
New York 673,000 57
North Carolina 335,000 34
North Dakota 24,000 29
Ohio 418,000 22
Oklahoma 147,000 23
Oregon 137,000 43
Pennsylvania 448,000 22
Rhode Island 38,000 19
South Carolina 170,000 30
South Dakota 30,000 NA
Tennessee 246,000 34
Texas 833,000 21
Utah 82,000 22
Vermont 23,000 14
Virginia 262,000 19
Washington 219,000 29
West Virginia 81,000 44
Wisconsin 188,000 22
Wyoming 20,000 17

Table sources:

Holzer, III, C.E. and Nguyen, H.T.,

Aron, L., Honberg, R., Duckworth, K., et al., Grading the States 2009: A Report on America's Health Care System for Adults with Serious Mental Illness, (Arlington, VA: National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2009).

Grading the States 2009: A Report on America's Health Care System for Adults with Serious Mental Illness

About NAMI:
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI has over 1100 state and local affiliates that engage in research, education, support and advocacy. NAMI is a non-partisan, non-profit organization and does not endorse political candidates.