NAMI released a report on state budgets today, ranking all the states. The link to the complete report is:
Texas ranks 50th in the nation for state per capita public mental health spending! We are moving in the wrong direction, and this approach to funding mental health services touches our lives in a very real way, every day.
This report presents a powerful opportunity for grassroots advocacy. Below is an e-alert that we are providing to you, so that you can contact your legislators and policy makers to educate them about the impact of this level of funding. Please take the time to raise your voice and express your opinion.
HOW YOU CAN HELP!
Give a little time to make a big difference. Take a few moments right now to urge your state legislators to do right by mental health. Pass it on. More noise = bigger impact!
1. Copy the message below into the body of an email
2. Insert a sentence or two of your personal viewpoint
3. Email the message to Governor Perry and your state legislator
o Why mental health services are important to you and people you care about.
o A personal success story about the effectiveness of mental health services and/or access to treatment and medications.
Subject line: Mental Health Budget – Move Back from the Edge
As a member of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness [insert your personal message].
In a nationwide report, NAMI research found that Texas had a modest increase of 4.3% in state mental health funding from 2009 – 2012 (www.nami.org/budgetcuts). I commend you and your colleagues for maintaining mental health funding in a very tough budget year, rolling back deep cuts proposed in the governors recommended budget. You heard the Texas Association of Counties, Texas Sheriffs Association and mental health stakeholders when they warned that cuts to our dangerously eroded mental health system risks total collapse.
But Texas has a long way to go. Our mental health system is at the bottom of the barrel, with the highest uninsured rate in the nation (26%) and the lowest per capita spending on mental health – less than a third per capita ($38.38) compared to a national average of $122.90.
Although the population with mental illness is growing along with the general Texas population, the Department of State Health Services is not able to serve more people because most of the modest increase of $39.8 million (4.3%) since 2009 pays for expensive psychiatric crisis services. As vital as crisis care is, once the crisis is managed, far too many Texans have to go on a waiting list for ongoing community based care, with the exception of those living in the 7 county NorthSTAR area. The result is a high priced revolving door of crisis teams, emergency rooms and hospitals. And the costs and damage spreads to the criminal justice system through preventable, unnecessary arrests and incarceration.
As your constituent, I call on you to preserve mental health funding and encourage wise use of scarce state dollars. Help individuals and families stay independent of intensive high-cost services through timely and appropriate community treatment, housing and employment supports, and peer/family education. Help us help ourselves.