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American Psychiatric Association Unveils Blueprint to Save America's Crumbling Mental Health System
Vision for Mental Health System Report Offers 12 Guiding Principles to Reform, Rebuild System
Arlington, VA -- April 3, 2003 -- The American Psychiatric Association unveiled today a far reaching blueprint to reform and rebuild our crumbling mental health system-A Vision for the Mental Health System-amidst the deepening funding crisis in state and local mental health services. The report was prepared by a blue-ribbon task force of psychiatrists from the public and private system.
APA President Paul S. Appelbaum, M.D., in a stinging assessment of our nation's mental health system, noted that deeper cuts in mental health services, particularly in state Medicaid programs, are leading to a "wholesale collapse of our mental health system."
Dr. Appelbaum emphasized that APA's Vision report "lays out a set of principles to rebuild and reform our mental health system, and provide a system of care for our most vulnerable citizens."
Mental disorders causing distress and dysfunction affect nearly 1 in 5 adult Americans in any given year. Nearly 3% of American adults are severely and persistently mentally ill and the majority of these patients depend upon Medicaid and state mental health services for their care. Today, Medicaid provides care for more than 60 percent of people with schizophrenia.
Task Force Chair, Steven S. Sharfstein, M.D., said that "2003 is a watershed year for mental health because for the first time in more than 30 years, a Presidential Commission is focusing on this crisis, and the U.S. Congress is seriously considering a law to equalize insurance coverage for mental illness and other medical conditions."
Dr. Sharfstein noted that APA's mental health blueprint was prepared in anticipation of the Final Report of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health due in late April which "we hope will include many of the 12 critical principles for our mental health system" outlined in the document Vision for Our Nation's Mental Health System (PDF, 69KB).
The Twelve Principles for a Vision for Our Nation's Mental Health System are:
Members of the task force include: Steven S. Sharfstein, M.D.; Chair, Paul S. Appelbaum, M.D.; Norman A. Clemens, M.D.; Anita S. Everett, M.D.; David Fassler, M.D.; Susan L. Padrino, M.D.; Roger Peele, M.D.; Darrel A. Regier, M.D.; Michelle B. Riba, M.D.
The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society, founded in 1844, whose 35,000 physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illnesses including substance use disorders. For more information, visit the APA Web site at www.psych.org.