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March 3, 2006
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Study outlines problems with mental health services.
The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri) (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News); 3/2/2006
Byline: Alan Bavley
Mar. 2--Kansas got a failing grade and Missouri received a C-minus in a national study of state programs for the mentally ill. Overall, the nation received a D for mental health services, the National Alliance on Mental Illness said. The advocacy group said its report confirms what a presidential commission called "a system in shambles." "Too many states are behind the curve," the alliance's medical director, Ken Duckworth, said in a statement Wednesday. "They are not keeping pace by moving toward a recovery-oriented health-care system based on proven, cost-effective practices." The report focused on services available to the millions of adults with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression who depend primarily on state mental health systems. Grades were based in part on a survey of state mental health agencies conducted from October to December 2005, the alliance said. No state received an A. Five states received B's. Kansas was one of eight states to get an F. The report said mental health consumers and their families think the state "has been inflexible, and has a history of asking for their input and then ignoring it." The report also said that Kansas had inadequate numbers of hospital beds for the mentally ill and that the state has not done enough to keep patients out of the criminal justice system. The report may contain inaccuracies, said Mike Deines, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, which is in charge of mental health care. The department would want to review the report more thoroughly before passing judgment, he said. Deines said the governor's mental health planning council is looking at ways to improve services, such as giving patients more control over their care. Missouri's C- grade took into account budget cuts for mental health services and the state's shortage of housing, hospital beds and community alternatives to hospital care for the mentally ill. The report also praised the state for some of its programs, including one that educates doctors about the use of psychiatric drugs. The program has reduced hospitalizations of patients and saved the state millions of dollars. Missouri Department of Mental Health spokesman Bob Bax called the report fair. "The report describes areas that need improvement and areas where Missouri is a leader and doing well," Bax said. "It appreciates we're trying to do a good job during difficult budget times." To reach Alan Bavley, call (816) 234-4858 or send e-mail to email@example.com.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Kansas City Star, Mo.
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.
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Nation's Mental Healthcare System Gets 'D' Grade; 5 States Get Bs, 8 States Flunk; Political Implications in IA, NH.
US Newswire; 3/1/2006
WASHINGTON, Mar 1, 2006 (U.S. Newswire via COMTEX) -- The United States gets a D grade in helping adults with serious mental illnesses, according to the first state-by-state report on the nation's mental healthcare system in more than 15 years.
"Grading the States: A Report on America's Health Care System for Serious Mental Illnesses," funded by the Stanley Foundation, was released today by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The 230-page report, including individual state narratives and scoring tables, is available on-line at http://www.nami.org/grades. A list of state grades is included at the end of this release.
Illinois was the largest state to receive a failing grade. In addition, Illinois ranked 46th in the nation in a "Consumer and Family Test Drive" of information accessibility conducted through state mental health agency Web sites and telephone systems. In one instance, an Illinois agency employee told a consumer: "No, I don't want to help you."
"Grades are more than report cards," said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "They reflect standards."
The report confirms in detail what a presidential commission appointed by President George W. Bush has called "a system in shambles" and what the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences recently called a "chasm" between promise and practice. Grades were based in part on a survey of state mental health agencies conducted in October-December 2005.
The report may have political impact, coming immediately after the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington, D.C.
Iowa is an example. The state gets an F overall. Eighty-nine out of ninety of its counties are classified as rural, but the state lacks a strategy for addressing distinctive rural needs.
"Tell that to presidential contenders in 2008 who plan on visiting the state," Fitzpatrick said.
New Hampshire, he noted, was once considered to have one of the best mental healthcare systems in the nation. Today, it is one of 19 states that received a D.
Two states, Colorado and New York, declined to participate in the survey and were graded U for unresponsive. NAMI will encourage legislative oversight committees in those states to seek answers to the report's questions for themselves.
Five states received grades in the B range: Connecticut, Maine, Ohio, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.
Eight states received Fs: Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
"Treatment works, if you can get it, and if states get it right," said NAMI medical director Ken Duckworth. "Unfortunately, too many states are willing to risk or tolerate premature deaths."
Millions of adults with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression, depend primarily on state public health systems for treatment and support services.
Duckworth warned that Ds are unacceptable and Cs cannot be considered a passing grade. "If you need heart surgery, you don't want a surgeon who only got a C in medical school. The same principle applies in helping people with mental illnesses."
"Too many states are behind the curve. They are not keeping pace by moving toward a recovery-oriented health care system, based on proven, cost-effective practices. They are selling taxpayers short by settling for pieces of systems that are largely obsolete."
B: Connecticut, Ohio
B minus: Maine, South Carolina, Wisconsin
C plus: Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon
C: California, District of Columbia, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Texas
C minus: Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, Tennessee, Vermont
D plus: Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania
D: Alaska, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming
D minus: Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada
F: Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota
U: Colorado, New York
Alexis O'Brien of NAMI, 703-312-7893,
Copyright (C) 2006, U.S. Newswire
COPYRIGHT 2006 COMTEX News Network, Inc.
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The Warning Signs Of An Impending Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode
Bipolar disorder - as the name implies - involves two distinct set of symptoms. One set throws the individual down into the depths of a massive depression. The other places the individual who suffers with bipolar disorder at the top of a peak manic episode.
Most everyone can eventually recognize the warning signs of an impending depressive episode related to bipolar disorder. More likely than not, individuals with bipolar disorder try very hard to avoid it.
However, for many individuals with bipolar disorder, it's more difficult to recognize the signs of an impending manic episode. After all, a manic episode of bipolar disorder can be mistaken in some cases - especially in the very early formation -- for the lifting of the corresponding mood swing of the depression.
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