Less Than Half of States Increased Mental Health Spending So Far This Year
According to an annual survey released by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 23 states increased mental health spending in 2015. This number has dropped, compared to 29 in 2014 and 36 in 2013.
Twelve states decreased general funds for mental health while 14 states maintained budgets from the previous year.
The report suggests that in the wake of the Newtown tragedy in 2012, there was in overall influx of mental health spending. The number of states continuing to increase spending has dropped steadily since. Alaska, North Carolina and Wyoming have seen mental health spending decrease consistently over the last three years.
But 11 states have steadily increased mental health investment from 2013 to 2015: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia and Washington.
“While some states are indeed enacting measures to address much needed mental health reform, it is concerning that overall the number of states that have increased funding has declined,” Erin Wallace, senior director of strategic communications at Mental Health America, told The Mighty in an email. “Of even greater alarm is the startling numbers of Americans who are not receiving the necessary treatments for mental health and substance use issues.”
This gap in mental health access is highlighted in Mental Health America’s annual report. They found 57 percent of adults with mental illness received no treatment, and in some states — like Nevada and Hawaii — that number increases to 70 percent.
In addition, 64 percent of youth with depression do not receive any treatment.
“When almost two-thirds of young people who have depression are not getting treatment they need, that is shameful,” Wallace said. “Regardless of where you live, we must improve access to care and treatments, and we should put a premium on early identification and early intervention for everyone with mental health concerns.”
Here’s how the states ranked according to Mental Health America’s report, based on factors like access to adequate insurance, access to mental health care and barriers to mental health treatment. Minnesota, Massachusetts and Connecticut claimed the top three spots, while Nevada, Arizona and Oregon were ranked lowest.
How’d your state do? If you want to talk to your state official about how the mental health system is working (or not working), you can find your elected officials here.