By Michael Ollove
Fewer states increased their spending on mental health programs this year compared to last year, when a spate of horrific shootings by assailants with histories of mental illness prompted a greater focus on the shortcomings of the country’s mental health system.
Some states slashed their mental health budgets significantly this year. At the same time, however, a number of states adopted mental health measures in 2014 that won plaudits from behavioral health advocates.
A survey of state spending published last week by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that 29 states plus the District of Columbia increased their spending on mental health in fiscal year 2015. A year earlier, 37 states plus D.C. increased their mental health budgets.
NAMI warned that the momentum to improve state mental health services, which was especially powerful after the December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut, has slowed.