States Grapple With Inadequacies In Mental Health Services

Advocates hope the fatal beating of a California homeless man by police, captured by a security camera, may spur changes. In the meantime, a D.C. report says thousands of children who need mental health services aren't getting them, and New York state fines insurers over mental health notices.

Los Angeles Times: Kelly Thomas Video A Turning Point For Mental Health Care?
This week, after the tape was played for the first time in court, it exploded in the public consciousness -- one YouTube version had been viewed 91 times each minute -- and became an instant touchstone for those who advocate for a more robust and effective mental health system. Advocates for the mentally ill said they viewed the recording, the centerpiece of the prosecution's case against two officers accused in Thomas' death, as something akin to their Rodney King video (Gold, Winton and Sewell, 5/8).

The Washington Post: Report: D.C. Children Who Need Mental Health Services Not Getting Help They Need
Thousands of District children who need mental health services are not getting them, and the city’s complex system relies too heavily on institutionalizing and medicating those who do receive care, according to a report issued this week by a leading advocacy group (Moyer, 5/8).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: NY Fines 15 Insurers Over Mental Health Notices
New York regulators have fined 15 insurers $2.7 million for failing to notify small businesses they were eligible to buy special coverage for mental illnesses and children with serious emotional disturbances (5/8). 

In North Carolina, changes have set the public and private interests at odds --

North Carolina Health News: Public Money and Private Rights At Odds in NC's Mental Health System 
Last summer, North Carolina legislators set the state’s mental health system on a new course, they set state and local officials, mental health providers, and program administrators scrambling to get changes in place, and set a grueling schedule to get it all done. All the while, basic questions remain unanswered: Who ultimately decides how much care consumers get? What privacy rights do publicly funded agencies have? Who's left holding the bag if it all fails? Questions about governance of the state's new mental health agencies remain unanswered, even as some of those agencies are already open for business (Wilson, 5/9). 

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