Policy

Ohio’s mental-health system is slipping, national interest group claims

Funding cuts have helped drop Ohio’s ranking in a national mental-health report card, though the state remains above average compared to most states.

Funding cuts have helped drop Ohio’s ranking in a national mental-health report card, though the state remains above average compared to most states, the mental-health interest group that authored the study announced today.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness graded Ohio’s public mental health system a C , which is down from a B in the last report published three years ago.

Only six states received a B and there were no As. Most of the Midwest – including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Michigan – received Ds, which was the report’s most common grade.

“Instead of moving forward as we should have, we have fallen miserably backwards, and in the process have left many of our most vulnerable citizens behind,” Jim Mauro, executive director of national alliance’s Ohio affiliate, stated in a release.

The report card (pdf) lauded Ohio’s approach to using diversion programs to keep the mentally ill out of jail and the way research institutions and other agencies work together on problems with the state’s mentally ill. But it also said the state needs to increase funding, improve its coverage of the uninsured and increase the number of acute-care beds in the state.

The mental-health system has faced at  least three rounds of cutbacks in recent years and late last year Gov. Ted Strickland announced plans to close two mental health hospitals as a way to close the budget shortfall in the state.

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