State Programs, Agreements With Feds Aim At Better Mental Health Care Delivery

States seek to improve how they deliver mental health care: In Georgia, a revamp shows success stories; Connecticut seeks an agreement to better care for children with mental health problems; and in Texas, lawmakers back a diversion program to keep the mentally ill from jail.

Georgia Health News: DOJ Pact Shows Results, But Challenges Remain
A man who lived for years in a crude shelter in the woods is now housed in an apartment. A young woman who was institutionalized for a dozen years now lives in her own home, and is using the bathroom by herself for the first time in her life. The two individuals’ transitions are among the success stories of Georgia's 2010 agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to revamp the state's system to care for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities (Miller, 5/20).

CT Mirror: Proposal Seeks To Lay Groundwork For Better Children's Mental Health
In an effort that grew out of personal experience, advice from experts and the stories parents told in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the head of the legislature’s Committee on Children Monday unveiled a proposal aimed at making it easier for families to access mental health services for children. The bill is a first step, a framework for the mental health system, Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, a freshman Democrat from Meriden, said as she outlined the measure, flanked by mental health experts and parents of those killed at the Newtown school (Becker, 5/20).

The Texas Tribune: House Backs Mental Health Jail Diversion Program
The House tentatively approved a bill Monday that would allow Harris County Jail to start a pilot program that officials hope would become a model for reducing mental illness in local lockups across Texas. Senate Bill 1185, by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Southside Place, would create a program that connects mentally ill inmates with social, clinical, housing and welfare services during the first weeks after the person's release from jail (Grissom, 5/20).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.