Stamford, Conn. – Sept. 28, 2015 – AmeriCares will expand access to care for low-income patients living with mental illness by donating medications to community mental health centers across the U.S. The emergency response and global health organization announced its new Mental Health Initiative today as a Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City.
AmeriCares will become a new resource for nonprofit health centers serving low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients with mental health needs. The goal is to support 175 community mental health centers over the next three years with at least $40 million worth of high-quality psychiatric medicine. The program will begin with community health centers in 10 states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. The Mental Health Initiative is an extension of AmeriCares U.S. Program, which supports more than 800 free clinics and community health centers nationwide with free medicine, medical supplies and capacity-building programs.
“More than 43 million people nationwide are living with mental illness, and nearly half go without treatment,” said AmeriCares President and CEO Michael J. Nyenhuis. “Our targeted donations will improve the quality of care, expand treatment options and reduce costs for patients. Most of all, it will ensure people living with mental illness get the medication they need and not just a prescription they can’t afford to fill.”
One out of every five adults in the U.S. experiences some form of mental illness in any given year, and one out of every 20 adults experiences a serious mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
With the new initiative, AmeriCares will reach a network of nonprofit health centers serving 8 million Americans with mental health needs. AmeriCares will provide prescription medications to treat depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, as well as primary care medicines for centers with integrated health programs. Participating health centers will be able to select products from an online ordering system with real-time inventory. AstraZeneca is helping to launch the program with nearly $9 million in donated medications.
AmeriCares is the nation’s largest provider of donated medical aid to the U.S. health care safety net, last year delivering more than $117 million in aid to a network of clinics and health centers serving 5 million patients in need. AmeriCares made 6,100 shipments to U.S. clinics and health centers last year, delivering enough medication to fill nearly 2 million prescriptions. The program helps health care providers serving the uninsured to increase capacity, provide comprehensive care, improve health outcomes and reduce costs for patients.