State Budgets: If Ever There Was a Rainy Day, It's Now
Special Web site Launched
NAMI's top priority for 2010 is to save state mental health services from massive state budget cuts and the issue is humming nationwide.
In Maine, watch NAMI advocates in action. Meanwhile, The New York Times has reported on the impact of $16 million in cuts in Oklahoma. In Chicago, one mental health agency has had to scramble for a $350,000 grant to replace a cut of $2.3 million.
Looking at the national landscape-in which states face approximately $350 billion in budget shortfalls-the Washington Post highlighted one Missouri advocate who said, "I understand the budget year we're looking at, but what I want you to understand is the desperate situation for folks living with mental illnesses in our state. The system is crumbling."
We need to protect and strengthen mental health care in every state. That means investing in proven, cost-effective programs.
NAMI's efforts are tailored to the situation in each state. NAMI Maine has proposed a freeze on mental health cuts and a special commission to identify where changes or reinvestment can best made. In Tennessee, NAMI wants the governor to use a portion of the state's "rainy day fund" to meet mental health needs. If ever there was a rainy day, it's now.
As part of its mobilization, NAMI has launched a special Web site with a broad range tools for grassroots advocates to use with legislators, the news media and others. Do you want to know what the high cost of cutting mental health will be for children? Check the Children & Youth fact sheet. It's one of many resources that the Web site has to offer.
What You Can Do
- Browse the new Web site. Share it with others. Work with others to use its tools to spread NAMI's message. Contact your governor and state legislators. Write a letter to an editor. Take small steps or big steps. Do whatever you can to help.
- Send a your governor a valentine
Please send a Valentine's Day card--the bigger the better-to your governor and state legislators.
Write inside: "Have a heart! Please protect and strengthen mental health care. We can't take anymore cuts."
Include a few short other comments or a personal story. Ask other NAMI members, family and friends to send their own.
Here is a link to governors' statehouse postal addresses. Please check your state government's Web sites or other sources for the postal addresses of your state legislators.
Your help is needed and appreciated.
- Help NAMI track what is happening nationwide. If you see a news story about mental health budget cuts in your state or community, please send a Web site link to Christine Armstrong. Please also tell us about any personal experiences that you, family or friends currently are having as a result of state budget cuts.