Wednesday, March 01, 2006

If Ohio is a B, the Rest of the Country Must Suck...

NAMI Releases Report on State of the Country

It must be a slow news day, because a report got a lot of news coverage on public radio. This report from National Alliance on Mental Illness says that Ohio gets a "B" on the academic scale in its treatment of mentally ill people. The country gets a "D" overall. Things must really suck in the rest of the country if Ohio is getting a grade of "B." Let's look at the reality of what is going on locally for mentally ill people.
  • The report talks about the lack of mental health parity in health care coverage, which is a huge issue in this state.
  • If you do not have money and have a mental illness good luck in getting help. Unless you are a threat to yourself or others there is very little available to you.
  • Even if you are a threat to yourself, you may get 24 hours of help and then a long, long, long, long wait for the state to decide that you are disabled.
  • There is no presumptive eligibility for assistance to prevent homelessness.
  • No where in the United States, including Ohio, do severely disabled people on disability assistance receive enough money to pay the market rate for housing.
  • There is no facility in Cuyahoga County that women with a mental illness who become homeless can go to receive help and overnight shelter with staff trained solely to work on mental health issues.
  • There is so much bureaucracy to get such a small amount of help. The agencies are forced to spend so much time and energy on paperwork that people with a mental illness suffer.
  • If you should also have an alcohol or drug problem, a blizzard of paperwork will rain down on you, and you will get very little help.
  • The closing of the asylums continue when budgets get tight, and budgets always seem to be in flux. There seems to be a constant tension between services and housing in the mental health community.
Anyway, things are bad, and if the rest of the country is worse... it is almost enough to push a person over the edge. Speaking of NAMI, I am not a big fan. They seem to represent parents of mentally ill people and social service providers. It never seems like they represent mentally ill people in their advocacy. "The Nation's Voice on Mental Illness" is their motto, but who is the nation's voice for the mentally ill?


Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

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