January 8, 2009
State budget cuts are creating an unprecedented crisis in mental health systems across the country. While demand for public mental health care is increasing, budget cuts are reducing coverage for and threaten access to treatment for children and adults with mental illness. Nearly every state is facing revenue shortfalls in 2010 and shortfalls are projected to extend into 2012.
In Maine, proposed budget cuts would have a huge impact on mental health services. NAMI Maine has asked Governor Baldacci for a moratorium on proposed budget cuts that may eliminate some essential services and to appoint a special commission to evaluate proposed cuts. Watch advocates speak about the dire consequences of cutting Maine’s mental health services.
Budget cuts also threaten services in Oklahoma. The New York Times reports that the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services already has cut $16 million from its budget and further cuts will result in slashing programs and turning away some of the 55,000 people who rely on the state’s treatment and recovery services every year.