Newtown Prompted Mental Health Reform Talk But Action Has Slowed


Two years after the school massacre in Newtown, Ct., started a nationwide push for improving mental health care, the movement’s momentum has slowed, says the National Alliance on Mental Illness, reports Governing. “Despite much talk about the mental health crisis in America since Newtown, little of substance on mental health care has been accomplished in the sharply divided, partisan Congress in the two years that have ensued,” the group said.

The story isn’t much different at the state level. The number of states pushing to restore funding to pre-recession levels has dropped, and the legislation that has passed “feels like tinkering at the edges,” said the alliance. Between 2009 and 2012, state mental health cuts totaled $4.35 billion. After the Newtown shooting, 37 states and the District of Columbia boosted funding in 2013. In 2014, though, only 27 states increased funding. While no comprehensive federal legislation aimed at boosting mental health care passed Congress, there were some continued efforts at the state level this year that mostly involved areas of long-standing concern, such as expanding the mental health care workforce, diverting mentally ill people from jail and prison, and increasing access to telehealth.

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