Despite need, states cut mental health care
by Matt Sedensky and Kristen Wyatt
Associated Press Writers
March 15, 2011 12:00 AM | 681 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gregory Roskilly, 15, reads to his mother, Sandra Roskilly, at their home in Denver in January. Gregory, who has autism and mood disorder, left the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan last year when it closed its children’s ward because of budget cuts. He now lives at home, where his mother has moved in to help care for him, but she fears Gregory is getting worse without residential treatment.
Gregory Roskilly, 15, reads to his mother, Sandra Roskilly, at their home in Denver in January. Gregory, who has autism and mood disorder, left the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan last year when it closed its children’s ward because of budget cuts. He now lives at home, where his mother has moved in to help care for him, but she fears Gregory is getting worse without residential treatment.
slideshow
DENVER - At the Ohio Department of Mental Health, Christy Murphy's days are filled with calls from people seeking help she can't seem to give.

They plead with her, but budget cuts have trimmed services so much - more than $1 billion in the current state budget - that she is not sure where to send them.

The desperation on the other end of the line hits painfully close to home for Murphy. Her 19-year-old son, Christopher, suffers from a range of mental problems, including one that's linked to a short-tempered, hostile attitude. Although he has coverage through Medicaid, he can't get the services he needs. His mother says he has no psychiatrist, no case manager and no medication.

"I think it's 100 percent about money," said Murphy, who lives in Columbus with her son.

An onslaught of budget cuts has hit mental health services in states struggling to weather economic woes. Even in better times, help could be hard to find. Now, just as demand is soaring, billions of dollars in cuts have shuttered facilities, prolonged waiting times to get services and purged countless patients from the rolls.

"We're getting some epidemic-proportion demands for services," said Mary Ruiz, chief executive at the Manatee Glens mental health facility in Bradenton, Fla., which has had to cut charity care for the indigent by $2 million a year.

State mental health funding was on a steady upward trajectory for three decades until the Great Recession hit in 2007. Over the last two fiscal years, states have cut a combined $1.8 billion from the public mental health system, according to a recent report by the National Alliance for Mental Illness, an advocacy group that tracks mental health spending in all 50 states.
Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides