Saving the mental health system

Most readers are familiar with the excellent investigative report into the mental health system conducted by the N&O. But if you want more background and context on the history of mental health reform I would recommend the series “Breakdown,” by reporter Taylor Sisk in The Carrboro Citizen.

The series draws heavily from interviews with families and psychiatrist Nicholas Stratas, who worked as statewide director of professional education and training for the Department of Mental Health in the 1960s.

Sisk traces how Stratas and others built a public mental health system that stressed continuity of care. In the early 1970s Bob Scott’s administration demoted mental health from departmental status and housed it in DHHS. The system was then neglected during the administrations of Jim Holshouser and Jim Hunt, according to the articles.

Then came privatization under Mike Easley.

Stratas spent a good deal of time during the reform debates warning about the dangers of a fragmented system of private providers. He wrote this open letter to the outgoing Easley administration.

Today, advocates say that all is not lost. We can still build on the broken system we have by taking an inventory of existing services, creating a public safety net, and coordinating care. Psychiatrist and advocate Thomas Smith has written a “Rescue Plan for Mental Health,” which describes some basic steps we can take to fix the state’s mental health mess. We have to try something new, and the suggestions of Smith and Stratas are good places to start.


  1. […] post: The Progressive Pulse – Saving the mental health system Categories : Mental […]

  2. […] Adam Linker put an intriguing blog post on The Progressive Pulse â […]

  3. […] Excerpt from:  The Progressive Pulse – Saving a mental illness system […]

  4. […] February 17, 2009 · No Comments Adam Linker of NC Policy Watch wrote a post about the coverage of the mental health system in North Carolina. He also has some links to some intresting open letters and a “Rescue Plan for Mental Health”. It is definitely an interesting read with a lot of information check it out here: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/?p=3462 […]

  5. WEL

    March 15, 2009 at 2:29 am


    I had eye surgery and in the post-op pack was MAXIDEX(dexamethasone) drops by ALCON LABS.

    Two days later I was BLIND

    Use Google and enter EPOCRATES MAXIDEX REACTION to verify

    Or call 800-757-9195

Check Also

Context is key for understanding Insurance Commissioner’s Affordable Care Act comments

Many people were surprised to see a story ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

WASHINGTON – GOP megadonors and allies of President Trump are helping Sen. Thom Tillis bulk up his c [...]

The last time the Earth experienced a July this hot was well, we don’t know for sure. Such extremes [...]

Medicaid expansion is not just a moral imperative — it could provide a much-needed tonic for the fis [...]

Ag Commissioner Troxler opts in; 770 workers under Treasurer Folwell, Labor Commissioner Berry will [...]

When North Carolina officials put a stop, at least for the time being, to a badly mishandled contrac [...]

The post Cooper to Trump: “Not so fast” appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

If there is a single brightest and most hopeful bit of news on the North Carolina public policy hori [...]

Thirty-two seconds. That’s how long it took for the madman responsible for the carnage in Dayton, Oh [...]