State Budget Cuts Decimate Mental Health Services
March 11, 2011
Excerpt provided by Inclusion Daily:
DENVER, COLORADO– [Excerpt] State budget writers looking for cash to balance the books have stripped a cumulative $1.8 billion from mental health services over the last 2½ years, putting the public at risk as the mentally ill crowd emergency rooms and prisons, according to the nation’s largest mental health advocacy group.
The Washington-based National Alliance on Mental Illness tallied state budget cuts to mental health services between 2008 and today and found that 32 states and Washington, D.C., cut funding just as economic stressors such as layoffs and home foreclosures boosted demand for services.
California slashed funding by more than $587 million, or 16 percent. Kentucky gutted its mental health budget by an astounding 47 percent over the last two years.
In many states, the picture is likely to get uglier for those relying on state mental services. Starting this summer, some $87 billion in federal stimulus money for Medicaid assistance to the states starts drying up. Because virtually all Medicaid-funded mental health services are optional, states projecting another couple years of budget deficits are likely to chop mental health services further.
State budget cuts decimate mental health services
States slash $1.8 billion in mental health funds since 2009 (USA Today)