According to a recent report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more states are taking mental health more seriously. Over the last year, mental health budgets in 37 different states increased, including Michigan. Only six states decreased mental health spending in the last year, while nine states kept spending levels about the same.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness website, public mental health services are supported by several sources of funding, two major sources being Medicaid and state general fund dollars. Medicare, federal mental health services block grant funds, as well as county and municipal funds account for around 10 percent of funding. State-level spending on mental health goes for a wide variety of health care and other services, the costs of which are continually rising.
All too often, young people with mental illness go untreated. It is becoming more and more obvious, though, that leaving mental illness untreated is not a good solution. The events in Colorado and Connecticut in the last year are good evidence of this.
The fact that public spending on mental health care is increasing in most states is a positive sign, as is the fact that some states have passed legislation touching on mental health issues. Such measures have improved mental illness identification in children and young people, as well as the process for obtaining court-orders for treatment of people with mental illnesses.
Those with mental illness may be able qualify for Social Security disability, which can provide an important source of income and support. Qualifying is not necessarily easy, though, and it can be helpful to work with an experienced attorney, particularly if an appeal becomes necessary.
Source: Disability Scoop, “In Shift, Most States Increase Mental Health Spending,” Michael Ollove, November 22, 2013.