According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in any given year, one in four adults suffers from a mental disorder. This number is even higher amongst those who are experiencing homelessness, where approximately half of all those who are homeless suffer from mental health issues. And currently, the recession, economic pressure, and high unemployment rates are also taking added toll on the state of American’s mental health.
In this environment we need community provided mental health services more than ever. However, in a very disturbing trend, states, facing deficits, are cutting back. Every year for the past three decades state funding of mental health services has increased- until 2008. As it was reported by Stateline.org, between 2008 and 2009 state mental health budgets decreased by 4%, and then again by another 5% between 2009 and 2010. And it is thought that between 2010 and 2011 these state budgets might decrease by a staggering 8% or more!
These cuts include the consolidation or elimination of crisis centers, reducing drug subsidizing, closing psychiatric hospitals, and more. Texas, Illinois and Arizona are just a few of the states who have made or proposed significant cuts in mental health services. In an article on Stateline.org Michael Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness says, “States are chipping away at their already very fragile mental health system. More people will be unable to find even basic services that allow them to stay out of the hospital or involvement with police. It’s a dire situation that we’ve never seen before.”
Being able to receive mental health services is key to getting those who need assistance back on their feet. And as these unprecedented cuts continue across various states nationwide, we only hope that everyone who needs these services will be able to receive the necessary care. Meanwhile, at Calvary we will continue to link each and every woman who comes through our doors with the mental health services they need.