2019-20 Legislative Priorities


2019-20 Legislative Priorities

Restore Funding to Mitigate Long-term Cuts to Mental Health

The MH system in North Carolina is under distress in large part due to years of substantial cuts in state funding for mental health services. And although Medicaid is often perceived as a safety net, it is estimated that only 59% of Medicaid covered adults receive services.  NAMI North Carolina is committing its advocacy efforts to restore funding to mitigate the long-term cuts in state funding to mental health services including funding for more inpatient crisis beds including inpatient psychiatric treatment beds for our military veterans; more psychosocial rehabilitation (clubhouses) and evidence based practices like ACT and family psychoeducation programs like NAMI’s evidence-based Family-to-Family and Peer-to-Peer programs. Budget request: $50M recurring for the next decade

 Provide Funding to Support Mental Health Services in Criminal Justice System

All too often, due to the lack of adequate and accessible community mental health services, our prisons and jails have become alternative treatment facilities for persons with mental illness.  With suicide on the rise in North Carolina prisons and individuals not receiving the appropriate treatments while incarcerated in our jails and prisons, NAMI NC and our coalition partners understand all too well the dire need for addition funds to support clinical staff to help address the increasing mental health needs of the growing population of persons with mental illness in our state prisons and jails. We are seeking $12 million to fund clinical staff to address the increasing mental health needs of the growing prison population with mental illness.  We also requesting $12 Million to support adequately funding the Raise the Age legislation to keep kids out of adult jails and help youthful offenders get their lives back on track.  And, we are seeking $200,000 to continue to expand CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) training to reach highway patrol and public facilities’ security officers e.g. hospitals, HHS buildings, etc.; SROs in schools; jails and prisons’ staff.  These funds will be used to support a statewide CIT conference with the purpose of educating different professions e.g. hospital staff, educators and school staff and frontline public service workers on the core principles of CIT.

Restore Funding to Support Targeted Case Management

Medicaid transformation introduces an additional complication for those with mental illness- moving possibly from standard to tailored plans, picking providers and plans, etc.  While care coordination is important, it is essential to provide targeted case management to help individuals adhere to treatment plans and maintain stability in their recovery during this time of system transition.   Budget Request:  $7 Million


Funding to Support Affordable and Safe Housing Options for Persons With Mental Illness

The single biggest stabilizer for individuals living with serious mental illness is to have a home.  The DOJ brought our attention to how we failed to provide appropriate housing choices to people coming out of institutional care of living in adult care homes.   The money allocated did provide an improvement in quality of life and choice of housing for many individuals, but sadly the adult care homes are rapidly filling the beds vacated by those in the Transition to Community Living with new people who then are in situations that are not adequate.  And the lack of a long term solution for those living in group homes, which have been underfunded since the loss of personal care service funding just continues.  We advocate for the expansion of housing options, and for the passage of a group home preservation bill that would finally provide stable funding for those who choose that housing model.

Budget Request: $50 Million


Funding to support NAMI NC’s Mental Health Education Programs Focused on Adolescents and College Students

Funding for NAMI NC to support expanding reach of evidence-based programs to support mental health education and training for adolescents and college students in NC including funds to support implementing “Ending the Silence” program in K-12 schools in each region of North Carolina.  Currently there is a main focus on suicide prevention among young people however not every young person who has a mental health condition has suicidal ideations.  We must begin to respond to the mental health needs of young people in a much more comprehensive and holistic way.  NAMI’s evidence-based program for young people, “Ending the Silence” engages and educates young people about identifying the signs of mental health conditions and the resources available to help address mental health conditions experienced by young people.  A signature of the program is teaching youth with mental illness how to move beyond the stigma associated with mental illness and share their journey of recovery as a way to help educate and inspire other young people to “End the Silence” on mental illness and grow the movement to end the stigma. Budget Request: $200,000


Expand Medicaid

North Carolina has the 10th highest uninsured rate in the country, limiting the potential of our state and communities to thrive (NCJC Health Advocacy Project, 2019). While the Affordable Care Act helped to thousands of North Carolina, far too many people remain uninsured in NC; people who are our neighbors, family members, co-workers and friends who work, live, worship and engage in everyday activities among us. Without Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, some of our state’s most vulnerable populations e.g. persons living with persistent mental illness are not receiving life-safe healthcare. NAMI NC stands with our coalition partners and strongly supports bi-partisan work among legislators to expand Medicaid in NC.


Bill Amendments:

Amend SESSION LAW 2015-97 HOUSE BILL 560: “AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS A FELONY TO ASSAULT HOSPITAL PERSONNEL AND LICENSED HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS WHO ARE PROVIDING OR ATTEMPTING TO PROVIDE SERVICES IN A HOSPITAL” to exclude persons “experiencing a mental health crisis or with “verifiable diagnosis of a medical condition, a mental illness, or behavioral health disability.”