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