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Stability in mental health

They may be a little rough on the states overall: The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill is saying (in its just-released report) that almost all states deserve a C, D or an F grade in their efforts in that area, and not one deserves an A, just five (none in the west) meriting a B. You suspect a message at work.

That said, there’s provocative material in this year’s Grading the States report. Upshot in the Northwest: Oregon rates a C, Washington a D, and Idaho an F.

There’s some high irony – to put it mildly – in parts of this. Oregon, for example, gets an A for “infrastructure.” NAMI must have an artful meaning of the word, because Oregon’s very weakest point may be its infrastructure, especially the decaying 9even dangerous) parts of its state hospital at Salem. (It does note Oregon State Hospital remediation as an urgent need.) It points out that the state does have mental/physical health parity, that its recovery sytems are solid and handles services decently, all while falling below the national average for per capital spending. Not a bad report, really.

Washington spends more – in most ways above the national average – but ranks lower in most respects in delivery of service and actual health care.

Idaho was one of eight states graded F, weak on almost everything but its suicide rate, which was well above average. It ranked dead last, 51st, in the area of total mental health spending. Legislation in this area still is making its way around the Statehouse, however, so sme judgement might best be deferred.

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