Saturday, May 25, 2013
By Kelley Bouchard email@example.com
(Continued from page 1)
Gov. Paul LePage gestures while giving the State of the State address on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. In letters to Vice President Joe Biden and Maine's congressional delegation, Gov. LePage says mental health care is the remedy for gun violence, not gun control.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
Maine won points for having one of the lowest uninsured rates in the nation and because its Dirigo health plan provides equal coverage for mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Dirigo is being phased out in anticipation of the federal Affordable Care Act taking its place next year.
Maine's actual spending on mental health care dropped from $201 million in fiscal 2007-08 to $174 million in fiscal 2011-12, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The department also experienced mental health care budget curtailments totaling $12.4 million during that period.
"The network of best-practice, community-based, integrated treatment care that allows people to live successfully in our communities has eroded over the past decade," said Cathy Kidman, interim executive director of NAMI Maine. "This is where funding is most needed."
Kidman warned against equating mental illness with violence, noting that one in four American adults experiences a mental health disorder in a given year.
"The focus of gun control efforts should be on steps to keep highly lethal weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals, whether or not they have a mental illness," Kidman said.
Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: