According to a new report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), lawmakers in 37 states have cleared legislation increasing the number of dollars spent on mental health care. Only six states reduced spending for 2014, including Alaska, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, Wyoming—and Nebraska.
“State Legislation Report 2013: Trends, Themes & Best Practices in State Mental Health Legislation,” released in late October, cites the tragic 2012 shootings in Newton, CT and Aurora, CO as significant drivers for the reforms:
“…The Newton tragedy shaped the debate about the lack of access to mental health services and the barriers that many families and individuals face in light of the nation’s fragmented and grossly inadequate mental health system,” the report states.
Local governments around the country reduced mental health spending by a combined $4.35 billion dollars from 2009 to 2012. Several states are now working to not only restore budgets to pre-recession levels, but to facilitate compliance with the Affordable Care Act.
Though Nebraska cut overall mental health spending in 2014, the state did approve a measure targeted to improve early identification and screening as well as provide education and training for emerging mental illness in children and adolescents. To read more about LB 556, see the Nebraska Legislature website.
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