Garfield, Rachel L. (2011). Mental health financing in the United States–A primer (pp. 46): Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, one of the foremost health care policy information sources anywhere, has published a most useful report on the financing of American mental health system. Working closely as we do with families navigating the maelstrom of mental illness, we find this report very helpful in understanding the framework of the mental health system in this country, something that every family member must sooner or later master. The report shows, for instance, how important Medicaid and Medicare have become to funding mental health care. These (and other) public sources represent 61% of all mental health expenditures. The report also describes  at a high level the sources and uses of such funding, as well as the eligibility, coverage benefits, and specific program financing of each. Mental Health Financing in the United States makes for an excellent subsequent summary resource to explain much of what is behind “The System” as seen from a family perspective (see PsychOdyssey 101: “The System”).

Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association (2010). More Mentally Ill Persons Are In Jails and Prisons Than Hospitals–A Survey of the States.

A recent report jointly issued by The Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association brings alarming news. There are now more mentally ill in prison than in psychiatric hospitals. We are back to the 1820s and 1830s. Dorothea Dix, the most important psychiatric reformer in American history, is spinning in her grave. Some details:

  • There are 3 times more mentally ill persons in jail than in hospital
  • 16% of prison inmates have a serious mental illness
  • 40% of people with mental illness have been in jail at some time
  • In 1955, there was 1 psychiatric bed for every 300 Americans. In 2005: 1 for 3,000.
  • Such conditions today are as they were in the 1840s.

To overcome this travesty, the report proposes  a) assisted outpatient treatment, b) mental health courts, surveys of the states, the linking of Federal block grants to better outcomes, and abolishing hte “institutions for mental disease” (IMD) Medicaid restriction.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (2011). State Mental Health Cuts: A National Crisis. Fairfax, VA: NAMI. (posted March 29, 2011)

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has released its latest report, entitled State Mental Health Crisis: A National Crisis. The report details the status of state government mental health budgets across the country. For loved ones and their family members in most states, it makes for sober reading. California leads the pack in total funds cut, some $587 million. (It is hard to ignore that this figure for just one state’s mental health budget cuts corresponds to one that PsychOdyssey heard on a news show two days ago:  the total “air war” in Libya after just 30 days, with 190 Tomahawk missles each costing $1.4 million, has cost the United States about this same amount!) All family members should take time to dig into this important report, and take action at their state levels. See the NAMI report here.

Health Sciences Research Institute (2011). Transforming the Adult Mental Health Care Delivery System in Milwaukee County: Final Report. Retrieved from

Long-time visitors to know its fixation about “The System” that serves–and stymies–families navigating the maelstrom of mental illness. What if we could start from scratch and redesign it? That is essentially what the County of Milwaukee in Wisconsin recently did by commissioning the Health Services Research Institute of Cambridge, MA, to study and publish recommendations. HSRI’s report presents the findings from a comprehensive planning effort to redesign the mental health care system in Milwaukee County,  in partnership with the Public Policy Forum and the Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc. The project was initiated in October 2008 by the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, the Medical Society of Milwaukee County, and the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division. While long (over 100 pages of text), it touches all the elements of a county mental health system. By skimming it, fmaily members can gain an idea of the scale and complexity of all that is involved. (Posted on January 30, 2011.)

British Psychological Society (2000). Recent advances in understanding mental illness and psychotic experiences.

This long (83 pages) paper covers the ground thoroughly, and yet it is quickly read and easily digested.

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2 Responses to Reports

  1. Pingback: State Mental Health Cuts: NAMI’s Latest National Report |

  2. Pingback: New Report: More Mentally Ill in Prisons Than Hospitals |

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