Working to improve the lives of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families
Reports from the 2017 Legislative Issues Surveys conducted by NAMI Minnesota provided useful information used in the development of NAMI's legislative goals for 2017. The survey was designed to target three specific groups: adults, children and providers.
The data from the Legislative Issues Adult survey showed that more than half (64%) of respondents felt their insurance covered the treatment needed. Those who responded ‘no’ listed limited benefit set, out of network providers, high deductibles, and services not covered by insurance as barriers to getting treatment.
A majority of respondents reported having housing they are satisfied with and those who reported issues with their housing cited unstable, not enough supports, or cost burden as reasons for their dissatisfaction. More than half reported they feel safe, are in housing of their choice, have the ability to move if they choose, are able to afford rent and living expenses and have access to community and activities and supports of their choice. Only 41% of respondents reported they felt a part of their community or neighborhood.
Nearly 14% reported they do not currently work and want to and need a variety of supports to get a job including finding work, applying for jobs, resume building, training, problem solving and support on the job. There were a number of respondents who reported symptoms of their mental health prevent them from obtaining and maintaining regular employment. People who are working reported the number one improvement would be better pay.
Most effective treatments and supports included: regular appointments with mental health professionals, medication management, counseling, ARMHS and community based supports. Factors that prevented people from accessing needed mental health treatment of services included: long wait time for appointments and lack of workforce/providers, although over 41% reported they have no problems accessing services.
Services that are needed, but are not accessible included: dental, integrated care, services to involve family members and natural supports, more providers, housing and social opportunities.
The data from the Legislative Issues Children survey showed that more than half (60%) of respondents felt their insurance covered the treatment needed; 58% had private insurance through an employer. Those who responded ‘no’ listed in home treatment, high deductibles and social skills training or programs as items not covered by their insurance.
A majority of respondents reported their housing situation as ‘living with family’.
A majority were enrolled in some type of school or educational program, with 25% of respondents receiving special education. For those not enrolled in school or other educational program respondents reported they needed assistance filling out paperwork to enroll and with problem solving. Half of the respondents enrolled in school reported they are not satisfied with their current education primarily due to the school staff being unable to handle behavioral or mental health issues. Over 68% reported it would be helpful for staff and paraprofessionals to have better training as well as more school support personnel and mental health providers at school.
Most effective treatments and supports included: therapy and residential programs.
Services that are needed but are not accessible included: therapy, social opportunities and other natural supports. Over 36% of respondents reported mental health services that are needed are not covered by insurance.
The data from the Legislative Issues Provider survey showed that over 75% of provider respondents serve adults, age 26 to 54.
When asked ‘what prevents people from accessing mental health treatment?’, respondents reported long waiting times for appointments, lack of accessible transportation, not covered by insurance and lack of workforce/providers as the top four barriers. Other write-in responses included: strict no-show policies, client motivation, stigma and cultural barriers.
The three biggest issues for the mental health system were access to psychiatry/medication, services and supports when leaving intensive services, and access to therapy/community-based services and employment tied for third.
Most effective treatments and supports included: ARMHS, case management, IPS and community based services. Other services that are needed included: housing, psychiatry, crisis services and transportation to services. Improvements reported were smoother transition between levels of care, better continuity of care, better accessibility to mental health services and increased funding.