2009 Grading the States

New York State Gets “B” for Mental Health Care

State Budget Cuts Threaten Score

Albany, New York--The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) issued a national report card in 2009 that gives New York State a B grade for its public mental health care system. However, immediate action is needed to protect the state’s investment in mental health.

“We commend the state for scoring a B, but it is essential that we hold on to what we have in these difficult times or we will pay the price with increased homelessness and incarceration, as well as overflowing emergency rooms,” said Janet Susin, Vice President of NAMI-New York State.  “We are already experiencing cuts in services since last year when the data for the report was gathered.”

The report is a follow-up to a NAMI report published in 2006 to measure the progress of states in achieving the goals of a presidential commission that called for transformation of the mental health care system—which too often is fragmented, outmoded and inadequate.

In the previous NAMI report, New York State received a grade of U (no information reported).  This year, New York is one of six states that received a B, reflecting its use of evidence-based practices such as Assertive Community Treatment (ACT Teams) and peer run programs and services. The national average is D, remaining stagnant from three years ago.  No state got an A.

“Indeed, the report rewards New York State for passing mental health insurance parity when this law, called Timothy’s Law, is, in fact, due to expire at the end of this year.  It is vital that the law be made permanent or this significant progress will be lost,” said Trix Niernberger, Executive Director, NAMI-NYS.

“The report highlights New York State’s need for acute care and first responder training,” said Don Adamowski, President of NAMI-NYS. Just three New York communities have trained their first responders to work with persons with mental illnesses. In other cities, we see our loved ones shot or arrested when police do not understand mental illnesses. We would love to partner with the State to increase the number of communities with specially trained law enforcement.”

The report is based on 65 criteria, including access to medication, housing and family education. It contains policy recommendations for federal and state leaders. State governments provided most of the information to determine the grades

NAMI-NYS Helpline
(518) 462-2000
1-800-950-3228 - NY Only
helpline@naminys.org

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