Story last updated at 3/25/2009 - 10:58 am
ANCHORAGE - The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recently issued a national report card that gives Alaska a "D'"grade for its public mental health care system for adults.
The report is a follow-up to a NAMI report published three years ago to measure the progress of states in achieving the goals of a presidential commission that called for transformation of the mental health care system.
In the previous report, Alaska received a grade of "D." This year it is one of 23 states that saw no change. The national average is "D," remaining stagnant from three years ago. Six states received "B's." Six received "F's." No state got an "A." View the full report at www.nami.org/grades2009.
"It's disappointing that the state's grade has not changed," said Jeanette Grasto, President of NAMI Alaska. "We should be moving forward in helping people to get the help they need. Instead, Alaska's mental health system is failing to meet the needs of our rural, expansive state. State budget shortfalls and Medicaid refinancing also threaten to push us backwards. The Alaska Mental Health Board released a statement in October 2007 that, due to the closure of crucial services, our mental health system is in crisis."
The report card is based on 65 criteria, including access to medication, housing, family education and support to National Guard members. It includes policy recommendations for federal and state leaders. State governments provided most of the information on which the grades are based.