States Cut Mental Health Budgets

States desperate to cut costs during the recession have slashed non-Medicaid spending for mental health care by more than $1.8 billion since 2009, diminishing necessary services for the mentally ill.

Short term budget solutions may create long term public health problems. "Rather than saving money in the long-term, the cuts will force people with untreated mental illness into higher-cost settings, such as hospital emergency rooms, correctional facilities and homeless shelters, NAMI Illinois executive director Lora Thomas said. 'We need to be educated and smart enough to realize that costs don’t diminish in any way when we reduce treatment,' she said. ... Deeper cuts to mental health funding are expected nationwide over the next two years, particularly after a temporary increase in federal Medicaid funding expires this summer."

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