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NAMI’s report, State Mental Health Legislation: Trends, Themes and Effective Practices, highlights the good and bad news in states’ approaches to mental health.
The good news is that in 2015, 35 states adopted one or more measures that NAMI applauds with a Gold Star—and five states passed model legislation.
The bad news is that, at a time when public awareness of the need for mental health reform continues to increase, funding for mental health services fell in more states than it grew. This is the third year in a row the number of states willing to increase spending on mental health shrank.
Fewer than half of states increased their mental health budgets this year. The rest reduced funding, including three states that have been in steady decline over three years—Alaska, North Carolina and Wyoming. Only 12 states have steadily increased investment from 2013 to 2015: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia and Washington.
The report also highlights legislation that helps improve mental health systems or services. Five bills stood out:
Use the report as a tool to help drive policies and investments that will improve your state mental health system. Together we can build a movement to help transform the mental health system in America.