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November 4, 2002

White House Commission Releases Interim Report

On Friday, November 1st, the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health services released their interim report outlining the challenges facing our nation's mental health system. In very strong terms the commission's report sets forth a series of conclusions very consistent with NAMI's call for drastic reforms of state and local mental illness treatment systems. Specifically, the interim report declares that recovery from mental illness is possible and that effective treatments already exist that allow for consumers to attain recovery. The commission report denotes that a significant fragmentation in public programs and failure to adopt clinical practice and service models based on science leaves too many children and adults with mental illness "slipping through the cracks". Please see NAMI's formal testimony to the President's commission.

The commission specifically sites these five major barriers to care within the current mental health system:

  • Fragmentation and Gaps in Care for Children
  • Fragmentation and Gaps in Care for Adults with Serious Mental Illness
  • High Unemployment and Disability for People with Serious Mental Illness
  • Older Adults With Mental Illnesses Are Not Receiving Care
  • Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Are Not Yet National Priorities
For each of these barriers this interim report lays out descriptions of model programs that already exist to address these gaps in services but have not been widely adopted. The commission's final report is expected to include recommendations to President Bush on the drastic reforms that are needed to modernize the nation's public mental health system. The commission will be continuing its monthly meetings including their meeting November 12th and 13th in Los Angeles, California.

The commission's interim report can be viewed online.

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