Mr. and Mrs. Citizen, your state's being held back
If a recent health care survey called "Grading the States 2006" is any indication, many states may be finding ways to hide their report cards before anyone sees them.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) released this first comprehensive state-by-state analysis of mental health care systems in 15 years. Every U.S. state was scored on 39 specific criteria resulting in an overall grade and four sub-category grades for each state.
The national average grade is a pathetic D. Five states received grades in the B range, above average but not stellar. Absolutely no one received As.
I was appalled to find out that I live in one of the eight states that received a BIG FAT F.
It's enough to make a person depressed, anxious, neurotic, dare I say it, crazy?
Broken down, "we" in Iowa got an F for infrastructure, information access and recovery supports. Not much to celebrate about, "we" got a D for services.
The state did get credit for recent innovations in mental health care. They were an enacted Mental Health parity law and creation of a mult-stakeholder taskforce to implement evidence-based practices. Whatever all that means.
Others on the failure list were Kansas (my home state, I must be so proud), Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, Illinois and Kentucky. The four above-average states were Wisconsin, Ohio, South Carolina and Maine. For a look as to how your area fared, click here.
I've been fortunate to have competent treatment, access to wonder drugs like Lithium and Prozac, and genuine support.
I hate to think of all the citizens in the Midwest who unfortunately can't say the same. To find out how you can get involved and help make a difference in the lives of people affected by serious mental illness, click here.