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Group gives N.C. 'D' for mental health care

Posted March 11, 2009

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— A grassroots nonprofit group has given North Carolina a "D" grade for its public mental health system, alleging there have been years of poor decision-making.

“Years of bad policy decisions have left emergency rooms, the criminal justice system and families to shoulder the burden of responding to people living with mental illness in crisis,” said Debra G. Dihoff, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness North Carolina. “Our grade reflects the chaos and disorganization in our state.”

The national report is a follow-up to one published three years ago to measure states' progress in achieving the goals of a presidential commission that called for transforming the mental health care system.

NAMI gave North Carolina a "D" in the previous report, too, and it is one of 23 states that saw no change this year. The national average is "D," remaining stagnant from three years ago. Six states received "B's." Six received "Fs." No state got an "A."

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.


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  • PaulRevere Mar 11, 2009

    "Bev" Perdue had 8 years as Lt. Governor, which is really a figure head position. Oh "Beeevvvv"...why isn't mental health fixed in NC like you promised?

  • sceeter Mar 11, 2009

    I've worked for 2 local community Mental Health Agencies where 1 quit operating their county clinic all together and the other is barely hanging by a split thread as we speak. Both, worked with the low income to poverty stricken population who had either Medicaid, Medicare, or no insurance at all. You know, the population the big agencies don't want that pretty much only survives based on what the great State of NC thinks it's worth to pay someone to treat them for their mental illness or Developmental Delay (form., mental retardation) and of course, the monies from the too poor to live but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

    I am also a person with a serious form of mental illness and must seek services from the same agency or agencies of which I worked in and around with. I have no insurance, unemployed now, and not poor enough for Medicaid.

    I've seen this mess from both sides. A "D" was a gracious gift!

  • roncorey1 Mar 11, 2009


    The only reason that servicemembers coming from Iraq & Afghanistan seem to be having more mental health issues is because nowadys it actually gets reported and the military chain-of-command can't ignore it like they used to!

  • ThisIsMyName Mar 11, 2009

    If republicans had it their way, there would be no money for mental health. They only care about themselves.

  • batcave Mar 11, 2009

    NC is not a good place to be if you're young, old, disabled or mentally ill.

    The national average is a D Pa got a C big deal.

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Mar 11, 2009

    We sure are paying a lot of clinics to be open. Money is going somewhere. If those who are closest to the issue don't care, how can the general public become more concerned. Most of us have issues but try to cope. I also noticed this trend from WW2 through Iraq, our servicepersonel seem to have more mental health issues. Guess we don't make them the way they were back then.

  • roncorey1 Mar 11, 2009

    Does this really surprise anyone??? In the U.S. instead of caring and providing resources for our mentally ill, we just ignore them or keep them in prisons.

  • trunkmonkee1971 Mar 11, 2009

    Knock the grade down one notch and you will have the real grade.

  • Adelinthe Mar 11, 2009

    NC is not a good place to be if you're young, old, disabled or mentally ill.

    That's why, after 25+ years, I'm moving back to PA where they care.

    Praying for anyone is.

    God bless.


  • freetospeak Mar 11, 2009

    As a former Medicaid recipient, I can tell you that there is basically NO coverage for mental health issues. Try being down on your luck, struggling to find a job to support your children, all of the stressors of keeping a roof over your head and not being able to talk to a professional or get needed medication because mental health is not covered. Not saying that receiving Medicaid wasn't a blessing for short-term assistance, but most adults faced with similar problems or from a poor socio-economic background indeed will have some issues that they need help with mentally and on a long-term basis.