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Monday, March 14, 2011

States Cut Mental Health Care Funding


Throughout history society has dealt with mental health care poorly, leaving room for people who need the most help to get the least possible care. Even now in the 21st century, a time when the human mind is better understood than it has ever been, not to mention our ability to treat those with mental disease and affliction. Unfortunately, the majority of people in this world still do not grasp the importance in providing treatment to those who need it the most which is why funding for mental health care continues to be slashed. Sadly, a whopping two out of three states have cut general funding on mental health care in the past two years severely, Reuters reported March 9. It is almost hard to believe that despite the steps we have made to more adequately care for individuals who suffer from debilitating mental ailments, funding for mental health care continues to rest on the chopping block.

"Cutting mental health means that costs only get shifted to emergency rooms, schools, police, local courts, jails and prisons," said Michael Fitzpatrick, the Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). "The taxpayer still pays the bill." The director could not be any closer to the truth, citizens of this world care for one another in one way or the other and there is no question as to whether or not providing treatment for the sick is much less taxing than not treating them. Yet tax payers continue to vote to have funding allocated in some other direction, turning their back on the people who need support the most.

According to a report released by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), two-thirds of all states cut non-Medicaid mental health funding. The report done by NAMI looked at the budgets of every state and the District of Columbia for its analysis. Some states cut funding by almost half which is a staggering amount of money that could of assisting a number of people. States that cut the most were:
  • Kentucky (47 percent)
  • Alaska (35 percent)
  • Arizona (23 percent)
  • South Carolina (23 percent)
Fortunately, there are some states in this country who understand the value of mental health care and were able to increase funding for mental health services. Over the same two year period where most states cut funds there were a few who raised the bar, such as:
  • Oregon (23 percent)
  • North Carolina (21 percent)
  • Rhode Island (7 percent)

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