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Here Comes The Pain: Two-thirds of States Cut Mental Health Care Funding

by on Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm EDT in Healthcare, Politics, Tax Policies

Despite an increase in our nation’s mental health care needs due to tens of millions of Americans having lost their jobs, and tens of thousands of military personnel returning home from war, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is reporting that two-thirds of states are making deep cuts to their mental health care programs.

NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick is calling these cuts “a national crisis”:

“Cutting mental health means that costs only get shifted to emergency rooms, schools, police, local courts, jails and prisons,” Fitzpatrick said. “The taxpayer still pays the bill.

“Mental health cuts mean that clinics, crisis centers and hospitals close. Admissions are frozen. Emergency room visits increase. Where services remain, staff is cut, wait times for appointments are stretched and when people finally are seen, it’s for shorter amounts of time.

“Cuts mean people don’t get the right help in the right place at the right time. Communities suffer and families break under the strain. Some people end up living on the street or dead.”

Their report breaks down each state’s cuts and includes the seventeen states who have managed to increase their mental health care programs’ funding.

This is what President Obama and the Republican Party failed to mention when they insisted on extending tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%, and as they continue to shield multi-billion dollar corporations from paying a single penny in taxes: they have made a choice to further enrich the wealthiest Americans and corporations by kicking the most vulnerable and the most marginalized amongst us to the curb. Literally!