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Arizona State University Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions and its Morrison Institute for Public Policy proposes a new approach to describing the costs associated with chronic mental illness. Rather than a top-down analysis that estimates the overall cost of CMI across the state, this analysis will utilize a bottom-up approach that will examine the costs associated with the individuals with a CMI as they move through Arizona's criminal, public benefit, and physical and behavioral health systems. This approach lends itself to a highly-graphic system map and/or flow charts that could be enhanced with animation for use in PowerPoint display.For this study's purposes, chronic mental illness will be defined as a subset of the population with serious mental illness that is unable to settle into a stable living arrangement. The symptoms and behaviors exhibited by people with CMI make it difficult for them to remain either in an independent household or group housing for an extended period. This instability leads to the frequent use of high-cost services from various medical, behavioral, and criminal justice resources.The total costs of CMI are challenging to calculate because they are spread over an extensive network of services, and the nature of CMI means that these services are repeatedly accessed. Recognizing that each individual will process through this system in a slightly different matter, we will take a bottom-up approach to estimate these costs, focusing on the values of an individual at each node of the system.
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