State of Mental Health Report and Alabama’s Answer

For six years now, Mental Health America has released a State of Mental Health Report. This report shows the U.S. mental health standings for both children and adults. This year’s report was not promising. Although mental health in adults is steady, the mental health in children is crumbling. Here are the main points from the report:

  • Mental health in children is getting worse. From the first year Mental Health America did a report to now, there has been a 4% increase in Major Depressive Episodes in children. Children who suffer from Major Depressive Episodes usually suffer from other disorders like anxiety or substance abuse as well. This year, 13% of children suffer from Major Depressive Episodes, and out of that 13%, only 28% received treatment consistently.
  • Suicidal thoughts in adults has increased by about 450,000 people since last year’s report.
  • Drug and alcohol use and abuse has nationally decreased from 8.46% to 7.78% since 2012.  This use and abuse are usually related to mental health disorders in both adults and children.
  • Insurance coverage is not helping matters. Over 10 million adults and 20 million children had private insurance but were not covered for mental health help.
  • The top five mental health states are Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maryland. The bottom five states are Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Nevada.

Overall, the State of Mental Health Report shows that mental health in the U.S. is getting worse, and something major needs to be done to fix it. Read the Forbes article for more information.

Representatives of the state of Alabama, along with Governor Ivey set their mind to creating solutions that will be a start to getting mental health under control. Governor Ivey put Representative Ledbetter in charge of finding the solutions to do so. Here are the five pieces of legislation that he proposed:

  • School Service Coordinator Bill – it requires all the school systems in the state of Alabama to hire a mental health service coordinator.
  • 72-Hour Hold Bill – lets law enforcement officers put individuals that think have a mental illness and are a harm to themselves or others under a 72-hour protective custody. This includes transportation to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.
  • CIT Training Bill – requires the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission to provide mandatory crisis intervention training and continuing education to law enforcement officers.
  • Crisis Care Center joint resolution – requests for immediate construction and funding of three 24-hour crisis care centers. These crisis care centers will serve as an alternative to expensive hospital and emergency visits and will provide suicide prevention and other mental health services on immediate, walk-in basis.
  • Stepping Up joint resolution – urges all of Alabama’s counties to carry out and welcome the Stepping Up initiative. The initiative seeks to remove those with mental illness from the jails and get those individuals help.

All of the bills proposed come with a cost – one being the crisis centers, which will cost $18 million. Most of Alabama’s representatives want the mental health crisis to be solved and are working hard to do so.

For more information, read the Alabama Reporter article.

State leaders unveil a major mental health legislative initiative

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