Each state has a funded mental health agency or department that provides something of a safety net for people with mental illnesses. Often these agencies will define “target populations,” that is, the people they’ve decided meet eligibility for state-funded services. Eligibility is typically based on severity and duration of illness combined with lower economic status.
For a state-by-state listing of mental health agencies, check your local directory. They are all structured differently. This was made abundantly clear in a recent NAMI report entitled “Grading the States 2006: A Report on America’s Health Care System for Serious Mental Illness.” In many states these agencies are broken up by regions or districts into community mental health agencies/centers or authorities.