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Michigan's Mental Health Care System Gets a D Grade in Latest Study
Date:3/11/2009

LANSING, Mich., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Michigan released today the findings of its national study on the state of mental health care in our state. The State of Michigan received a D grade - a decline in its rating. Fourteen states improved their grades from 2006 and 12 states fell back including Michigan.

"We are disappointed that Michigan's mental health care system has deteriorated even further this year," said Sherri Solomon, Executive Director of NAMI Michigan. "We hope that the new report card grade will send the right message to legislators and prevent further budget cuts."

The 2009 report scored states on 65 criteria such as access to medicine, supported housing, family education, and services for National Guard members. It is the only comprehensive state-by-state assessment of the public mental health care system in the nation. The report includes recommendations for federal and state leaders. State governments provided most of the information on which the grades are based.

Today, one in four Americans experience mental illness at some point in their lives. The most serious conditions affect 10 million people and twice as many Americans live with schizophrenia as HIV/AIDS. Mental illness is the greatest cause of disability in the nation. As the country faces the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, state budget shortfalls mean budget cuts to mental health services.

In 2003, a presidential commission condemned the nation's mental health care system as fragmented and inadequate and presented an agenda for change. In 2006, NAMI released its first Grading the States report to measure progress toward transforming the system. The national average at that time was also a D, which only confirms that the country remains largely stagnant.

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SOURCE National Alliance on Mental Illness
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