NC Mental Health Committee Wants Another $135 Million

A legislative committee says its colleagues should provide more money next year to improve a mental health system that's come under criticism.

The mental health oversight committee is seeking another 135 million dollars, much of which would go to improving community-based care. It's more than 100 above what Governor Easley sought in his budget additionally for mental health programs.

The oversight committee's final report again was critical of the Department of Health and Human Services. The panel says the agency made decisions that lawmakers say prevent the local mental health agencies from getting the correct level of treatment to patients.

The General Assembly put aside an additional 95 million dollars toward mental health in the budget ending June 30th. But a recent study found the state needs hundreds of millions of dollars more annually to raise service levels to the national average.