NAMI Releases Grading the States 2006: A Report on America's Health Care System for Serious Mental Illness
March 1, 2006

The United States gets a D grade in helping adults with serious mental illnesses, according to the first comprehensive, state-by-state analysis of mental healthcare systems in 15 years.

The 230-page report, including individual state narratives and scoring tables, is available online at www.nami.org/grades. The report calls on states to make smarter investment choices through proven, cost-effective practices, and to link taxpayer funding to performance and individual outcomes.

"Grades are more than report cards," said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "They reflect standards that help people recover, and choices being made by governors and legislatures every day. States doing well in the report have developed a common vision and political will to move their treatment systems forward."

For the first time, the report confirms in detail what a presidential commission appointed by President George W. Bush has called "a system in shambles" and what the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences recently called a "chasm" between promise and practice. Grades were calculated by scoring 39 criteria, based in part on a survey of state mental health agencies conducted in October-December 2005.

Only five states received grades in the B range: Connecticut, Maine, Ohio, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Eight states received Fs: Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Fitzpatrick predicted the report will have policy consequences.

"Consumer and family advocates will use it as a tool for change. Governors and legislators should use it as a check list. The goal is to raise the level of awareness, dialogue and creative action," he said.