NAMI Wake Public Policy Priorities
“Top 10” Issues for Mental Health Advocacy in Wake County
1. True insurance parity in mental health and substance use has not been put into practice. A NAMI study reports that individuals continue to encounter numerous obstacles in their efforts to access and obtain quality mental health or substance use disorder treatment.
2. “Lack of adequate affordable, supported housing is a very common problem, and I think you’ll find that people with serious mental illness are among the most vulnerable to homelessness,” said Corye Dunn, director of public policy for Disability Rights N.C., a nonprofit that provides legal services for people with disabilities. News and Observer, June 2016
3. The Department of Justice said the state was violating a 2012 settlement agreement and “must take significant corrective action” to avoid unnecessarily funneling the mentally ill into adult care homes. DHHS signed the settlement under Gov. Bev Perdue following a federal investigation into possible violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Read more at http://www.wral.com/feds-nc-violated-settlement-over-mental-health-services/15113621/#woo0MlhzptQChSGt.99
4. An article in the Raleigh N & O reports that “Teens and young adults in North Carolina are hospitalized for self-injury more often than every other age group, according to the DHHS. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for ages 15 to 24 and the second-leading cause of death among those 10 to 14 in North Carolina, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
5. According to results of a study released in October 2016, researchers from the American College of Emergency Physicians found that compared to people with physical illnesses, people with mental health conditions, both children and adults, rely more on the emergency department, and are more likely to be admitted when they show up. One reason is the lack of services in the community. Source: Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News.
6. In Wake County, patients are routinely involuntarily committed to a hospital in another area of the state because of the shortage of beds in the county. None of Wake County’s general medical/surgical hospitals has an inpatient psychiatric unit.
7. People needing care in a state psychiatric hospital in the central region of the state which includes Wake County waited an average of more than 6 days. (Data from July-Dec 2015. Data source: NC DHHS)
8. The Wake County Detention Center houses one of the largest concentrations of people with mental health and drug problems in the state, according to [Wake County Manager] James Hartmann. Annual involuntary commitments doubled to 12,100 in 2015 from 2008, and the number of residents treated annually by EMS workers for mental health or substance abuse ailments rose 49 percent, he said.
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/wake-county/article84903767.
9. The state’s eight regional mental health agencies (MCO/LMEs) took a financial hit in 2016 in the form of a$110 million budget reduction that state legislators told them to fill with money from their savings. The budget, anticipates holding back another $152 million next year. Legislators will refine next year’s budget next spring, so the additional $152 million cut is not certain and requires our advocacy.
10. NAMI reported that North Carolina is one of three states (Alaska, Wyoming & NC) that has reduced funding for mental health for the past 3 years underscoring the lack of support at the state level for mental health.
11. The state sold the [Dix] land to Raleigh for $52 million last spring. The budget puts about $50 million from the sale into a Dorothea Dix Hospital Property Fund. The state Department of Health and Human Services has called for proposals and plans to spend up to $25 million from the fund to produce 150 new mental health inpatient beds scattered throughout the state. [Legislators want to use the funds to help rural hospitals. NAMI NC and NAMI Wake County opposed the use of the funds for this purpose.] Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article35913603. html#storylink=cpy
Session 1: NAMI, NAMI NC, NAMI Wake County
Public Policy 101.
Click here to view the session.
Session 2: Impact of Legislative Changes to State Funds for Mental Health Services
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Click here to find NAMI national public policy information.