DENVER – State budget writers looking for cash to balance the books have stripped a cumulative $1.8 billion from mental health services over the last 2 1/2 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.
"These are really dangerous times," warned Michael Fitzpatrick, NAMI's executive director. The group reviewed state mental health budget cuts in the wake of the January shooting in Arizona, in which six people died and 13 were injured, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The man charged with shooting them, Jared Loughner, showed signs of mental illness but was never referred for treatment.
Indeed, the picture looks only grimmer in many states where legislatures still at work on next year's budgets are considering making things worse.....
"Any time you make cuts this massive in mental health cuts, the needs in prisons and hospitals and emergency rooms and homeless shelters start to pile up," Fitzpatrick said.
Tough times - for NAMI? Recently NAMI got 60% or so of its cash from Pharma - and a large percentage of the rest came from County, State, and Federal funding.
A World Health Organization study indicated that those who were never medicated got better sooner than those who took meds.
Antidepressants may cause many more problems than we ever imagined.
Isn't it time doctors started checking for the real physical causes of mental illness rather than handing out prescriptions for something the drug rep recommended when your 15 minutes is up?
For those who want to find out if they are on medications they actually need, and how to withdraw from meds they don't need to be on, check out the resources in our LINKS section - start at the top of the right hand column.