Report: State Mental Health System Needs Fixing

A new report cites the Newtown shooting as an example of why action is needed now to rectify the challenges people face in obtaining mental health services.


The state's mental health system is "fractured" and fails those with private insurance, according to a report released this week on the availability of mental health treatment to Connecticut residents.

"Findings and Recommendations: Access to Mental Health and Substance Use Services" was released Wednesday by the state Office of the Healthcare Advocate and paints a dismal picture of the accessibility of services in Connecticut.

"Eight years after the Report of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Mental Health, residents of Connecticut still face significant barriers to access to preventive and treatment services for mental health and substance use disorder in Connecticut," the report states.    

"The tragedy of the mass shootings in Newtown, CT. on Dec. 14, 2012, brings the need for such an effort into sharp relief," it states. "Health insurance coverage is not a promise of coverage.  

"Multiple state agencies with varying eligibility requirements provide services and/or oversight for residents struggling with mental health and substance use disorders, but these efforts are not well understood or coordinated as part of an overall vision for the state."

CT News Junkie reports that those with private insurance often find it more difficult to gain access to treatment than those who are uninsured or have public insurance because traditionally private insurance often does not incorporate mental health benefits. 

At a public hearing, parents testified that they weren't able to access the same level of services for their adult children with private insurance as were available to those on state insurance programs, the website reports.  

In order to do so, those with private insurance had to go through public programs to receive the same services, according to the report. For example, private insurance won't cover in-home psychiatric services, according to Dr. Laura Saunders, a child psychologist at the Institute of Living.

To gain those services, one must go through the Department of Children and Families Voluntary Services division, she said.

Will Wilkin January 04, 2013 at 09:41 PM
There is practically no such thing as mental health care in the United States. There is, however, a multi-billion dollar drug trafficking business whereby psychiatrists and physicians prescribe SSRI drugs that, in a small but real percentage of persons, induce a sudden onset of violent and bizzare criminal behavior, suicidal and homicidal thoughts...not to mention the damage to brains, bodies and social function. I'm not saying these drugs don't sometimes help people feel or function better. Olympic snow-boarders lost their Gold Medal when cannabis was ruled a "performance-enhancing" drug, Charlie Parker on heroin played the best jazz saxophone in human history, and alcohol can relieve people's stress or social anxiety.  Yes, the relief and benefit is sometimes real, but that doesn't make it medicine, its still dope, just like the drugs that today pass for "customary treatment." In the words of Dr Peter Breggin, psychiatric drugs are "brain-disabling treatments" that happen to make billions in profits and careers for professionals spending not even the tiniest amounts of time actually helping a patient devise behavioral and cognitive alternatives to habits that aren't working.  A 15-minute monthly appointment can maintain a prescription for years, this seems to be the "customary treatment" of choice that has been negotiated between psychiatry and the insurance companies. So I agree with the headline, that the "State Mental Health System Needs Fixing."
Will Wilkin January 04, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Here is some documentation of what is wrong with so-called "mental health care" in America today: http://ssristories.com/index.php?sort=date&p=school http://www.breggin.com/ http://www.tufts.edu/~skrimsky/PDF/DSM%20COI.PDF
Dave January 04, 2013 at 10:02 PM
This is the discussion we should be having,what to do with these time bombs waiting to go off. Not how to restrict the rights of law abiding citizens. Fairfield hills, Southbury traqing center and Middletown were created for a reason. Where does a family turn to now when they need help with one of it's members? In a perfect world these institutions would not be needed, but let's face it they are. I'm sure that everyone has or knows of some one that could benefit from their services. Prisons keep in the criminals were do the mentally ill get the help they need?
Arek Wenta January 05, 2013 at 07:44 PM
It seems as though the procedure is to wait until they go off then treat them in prison. It's sick. To say the least.


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