1outta5 is a statewide initiative to ensure access to care for Maryland citizens who live with a mental health problem.
An estimated one in five Americans lives with a diagnosable mental disorder, and in Maryland that translates to more than 1,000,000 people. But mental health care in America—and in Maryland—is in crisis.
We are asking you to support the “Dime a Drink” increase in the state alcohol tax, which will show your support for Maryland mental health care.
1outta5 Makes News
Baltimore Sun (photo)
Baltimore Sun (photo)
Currently, access to public mental health services for the 100,000 Maryland children and adults served by the State’s public mental health system is eroding. Many of the 1 in 5 individuals who experience a diagnosable mental health problem each year remain unable to get the care they need.
These budget cuts are happening at the very time when need is on the rise. The public mental health system has been cut by more than 7%, or $56 million, despite the fact that enrollment has increased by 7-8% over the past two years. The battered economy is causing serious damage to the mental health, and family lives, of a growing number of Americans. Requests for therapists have soared while domestic violence and suicide hotlines are reporting increased calls.
According to 2008 study by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, suicide rates are on the rise in the U.S., having increased for the first time in a decade, particularly among middle-aged men and women. With an average of 500 reported suicides in Maryland each year, someone loses a family member to suicide every day, and, reportedly, 34 individuals attempt suicide daily.
But community mental health agencies across the state are being forced to close programs and restrict access as never before. Nearly 100 layoffs have occurred already and many hundreds more are at risk if the recent pace of cuts continues. Critical programs have had to reduce employee benefits, deny staff salary increases, and institute furloughs.
But when we cut community services, Maryland taxpayers pay more. Especially because these are the very services that prevent use of costly hospital services and emergency rooms. Serving an individual in a State hospital costs more than 4 times as much as community services.
And treatment success rates for mental illness are on par with or higher than those for somatic illnesses.
Funding realized from the alcohol tax will be used to fund health care for uninsured Marylanders and services for indviduals with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities and substance use disorders.
“Dime a Drink”
The 1outta5 campaign supports a “Dime a Drink” increase in the state alcohol tax to prevent further service reductions in the coming year. And it’s amazing what 10 cents can buy these days.
It’s estimated that this small “Dime a Drink” increase would generate $214.4 million in new revenue for urgently needed human services. Among the lowest in the nation, Maryland’s tax on distilled spirits has not changed since 1955, and the tax on beer and wine has not been raised since 1972.
A dime is small price to pay to help ensure Maryland’s mental health. Support for the “Dime a Drink” tax, based on a September 2009 Gonzalez poll, found that 83% of Marylanders favor an increase in the state alcohol tax to fund services for people with disabilities and addiction treatment services. Join us and help us make Annapolis listen!
Click here to read a Fact Sheet about the proposed legislation, House Bill 832/Senate Bill 717, The Lorraine Sheehan Health & Community Services Act of 2010.
Click here to read a report on The Potential Benefits of Alcohol Excise Tax Increases in Maryland, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Strength in numbers matters, and we need a large showing of individuals in Annapolis to show there is broad public concern about mental health service access and the impact cuts are having on vulnerable individuals.
- Join the many individuals who support our Campaign by signing our petition now.
- Contact the Governor and your legislators through our Legislative Alerts. Check the website regularly for Alerts or Contact us to receive Alerts by email.
- Attend our Events.
- Get your organization to join the Coalition in support of the 1outta5 Campaign.
No upcoming events at this time. Thanks to everyone who provided testimony at the legislative hearings!
Share Your Story
People are what this campaign is all about. Your personal stories will help policymakers understand what is at stake for the public and why they can not afford to ignore unmet mental health needs any longer. You can send us your story in writing (one page maximum), pictures or videos (2 minutes or less) for posting on this website and other uses in connection with the Campaign.
Send your stories to:
- 1outta5 Campaign
- c/o MHAMD
- 711 W. 40th Street, Suite 460
- Baltimore, MD 21211
- Fax: 410-235-1180
- Email: email@example.com