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Grading the States; Mental Health Services Survey

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is preparing to grade each of the 50 states on mental health services and invites the public to help by taking an online survey -- and forwarding it to others.

The survey is available at and includes a version in Spanish.

In 2006, NAMI's "Grading the States: A Report on America's Mental Healthcare System for Serious Mental Illnesses" ( provided the first comprehensive assessment in 15 years of publicly-funded mental health services, establishing a benchmark against which future progress could be measured.

The national average was a D.

The next report card will come out in 2009. Which states improved? Are any states sliding backwards?

The new survey will help answer those questions, identifying strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of the people they serve.

Survey results will be summarized and incorporated into the report, along with other sources of information.

NAMI is asking individuals and families affected by serious mental illnesses to take the survey to measure "real world experiences."

Anyone age 18 or older who has been diagnosed with a serious mental illness or who has an adult family member with a diagnosed mental illness can take the survey.

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

The survey will remain online until September 30, 2008, and takes about 15 minutes to complete. Responses are anonymous.

Specific survey questions include whether mental health services in a state are easy to find, convenient, affordable and without waiting lists -- as well as whether they are sensitive to cultural backgrounds.

Open-ended questions ask for the "best thing" and "worst thing" about each state system, whether their mental health services emphasize recovery, and what "recovery" means for each individual.

Telesage, Inc., an independent survey technology company, is conducting the mental health services survey in partnership with NAMI.

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots organization dedicated to helping individuals and families affected by mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).

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