July 14, 2021

A new report from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) looks at the state of mental health in the US and how it is currently being provided.

This is important, because it is not only the states and territories that are failing to meet their mental health obligations. 

The report finds that states and jurisdictions are not investing enough in mental health.

For example, the report shows that states spent less on mental health treatment in 2016 than in 2013.

This includes the cost of medications, the cost to state mental health facilities, and the costs of caring for people in mental institutions. 

In fact, states spent $5.7bn on mental healthcare in 2016, but that is $3.3bn less than the federal government spent. 

There is also an overall decline in mental healthcare services.

In 2016, there were just over 6,500 mental health beds available in the United States.

That number was about the same in 2014, but the number of people receiving services declined from 7.4 million in 2014 to 7.3 million in 2016. 

While states and other jurisdictions have made some progress, there is still much work to be done.

The report finds there are a number of areas of concern that need to be addressed: the lack of access to treatment, the poor quality of mental healthcare, the high rates of homelessness and addiction, and increased stigma.

It also finds that the mental health system is fragmented and that mental illness is often misdiagnosed as a “social anxiety disorder” or “post-traumatic stress disorder” (PTSD). 

The IHME recommends that mental healthcare providers invest in improving access to mental healthcare and to developing evidence-based practices to improve mental wellbeing and help people live healthier lives. 

What is the mental healthcare funding crisis?

 There are three main sources of funding for mental health: state and local taxes, private funds and federal funds.

State and local taxation includes state and territory contributions to Medicaid, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicare and Veterans Affairs health care, and various other programs. 

Private funds for mental healthcare come from the Federal Hospital Insurance Fund (FHIF), which provides health insurance to hospitals, clinics and outpatient clinics. 

For a number in the private sector, these are referred to as “private hospital grants”. 

For example, in 2016 the National Alliance for Behavioral Health and Wellness (NABWH) received $1.8bn in private funds for $1,821m to expand mental health treatments, improve the mental well-being of people with mental health conditions, and reduce stigma and prevent homelessness. 

Funding for mental illnesses is also subject to funding caps set by the states. 

But despite these barriers, the IHPE report notes that funding for treatment for mental illness continues to fall and that it is likely that the number one source of funding will continue to be the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance (FAMI). 

In 2016, federal funding for the mental disorders was $2.2bn, while state and private funding for these conditions was $3,826m. 

However, the NABWH reported that in 2017 the FAMI cap was set at $6.8 billion, with state and federal funding at $5,929m.

 As the report notes, the $6bn cap means that mental disorder treatment will continue in some areas, while in others, it will be reduced. 

Despite this, the FHI is not a reliable source of mental illness funding. 

It is important to remember that the FHIF is an investment fund, and there is no guarantee that it will produce the funding for care. 

So how can we get mental health funds more money? 

The Federal Government has set up a funding formula to support mental health funding.

It is known as the Federal Medical Research Service (FMRS), which has been established to increase funding for research on mental illness.

FMRS will fund research and development to support improved mental health outcomes for people with disorders. 

Currently, the FMRS is allocated a $5bn fund that is used to provide grants to hospitals and other institutions to improve services for people who need them. 

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that there were significant barriers to accessing funding, particularly for research. 

One of the barriers is that research on the effects of mental disorders on mental wellbeing is limited to people with the condition themselves.

There are also barriers to getting funding to the right people, such as financial constraints.

In addition, people with certain mental illnesses often do not receive the right support to manage their mental illnesses, such that they can be more vulnerable to mental health problems, such a substance abuse, and suicide.

The GAO also found that funding agencies, such the Medicare program, did not have