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escapedone7's avatar

What are some good arguments against budget cuts for mental health funding in my state?

Asked by escapedone7 (5920points) April 13th, 2010

I live in Illinois. My governor Pat Quinn is cutting funding to county mental health services.

I want to write a letter to my representatives and my Governor protesting this. I would like to submit reasonable arguments against these cuts. I know money is tight and there is not enough budget to go around. However many people I know rely on these services. Can you help me brainstorm some good reasons why these cuts will cause more harm than good? I want the letter to be very persuasive.

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17 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

1. Allowing mental health issues to worsen contributes to other ailments a patient may have putting more of a financial burden on the health care system.
2. Allowing mental health issues to worsen contributes to homelessness putting a financial burden on city government.
3. Allowing mental health issues to worsen contributes to highter crime rates in some instances putting a financial burden on the correctional system.

Why am I speaking of money only? Because nothing else matters to politicians even though there are hundreds of perfectly valid human reasons to have good mental health services in place!

Dr_Dredd's avatar

If we don’t treat people in the community, they may need to be admitted to hospitals. In the end, that will be more expensive than county mental health services.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

I was going to answer, but I think @Simone_De_Beauvoir summed it up succinctly and nicely.

Brian1946's avatar

For what programs are they not cutting funding?

Kraigmo's avatar

Every dollar spent in public mental health care funding, saves two dollars from being spent in crime control and emergency room visits. Just ask any PERT (Psychiatric Emergency Response Team) officer of the local police department.

hug_of_war's avatar

I would make sure you back up your arguments with statistics that quantify it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@hug_of_war hee, I told her that in the PM – great minds think alike

escapedone7's avatar

@hug_of_war and @Simone_De_Beauvoir

I am looking for statistic stuff. I found this (slow loading) PDF but it isnt specific to Illinois. Would this be good to cite as statistics?

escapedone7's avatar

Perhaps I should just print that out and send it with my letter.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@escapedone7 No, they won’t look at anything like that attached. You have to include nubmers and not a lot of them in your letter. I will take a look at your source a bit later – swamped at work.

Judi's avatar

If I did not have the money to fund my son’s mental health care he probably would have ended up in prison.
80–90 % (based on my correctional officer son in laws guess) of prison inmates are on some sort of psychotropic meds. Treating the mentally ill before they go out and self medicate and end up in the prison system would save the tax payers millions (if not billions) in correctional costs.

cak's avatar

I don’t have statistics, I just have personal experience. My sister is bipolar and can’t afford everything on her own. She has health care now, but it’s still not great. My husband and I pay for her meds. We also help with her therapy. She falls into the percentage that makes too much for help but not enough to really be able to afford the care.

Private insurance isn’t great, when it comes to mental health care. In fact, generally, it sucks. Mental Health still isn’t taken (IMO) as seriously as an illness (for lack of a better word) say like diabetes, AIDS or cancer. Everyone knows people need the help, yet they (politicians) still drag their feet on these things.

Money is being cut everywhere. To think that those that are afraid to ask for help will have more difficulty receiving help when they need it is shameful.

Judi's avatar

@cak ; I think Mental Health Parity is supposed to kick in soon!!

cak's avatar

@ judi I hope so. This is just an issue that burns my butt. I know you fully understand. My sister has made so much progress, I’m so proud of her. I just hate to see setbacks in terms of financial availability for those in need.

Ron_C's avatar

It depends on what you mean by mental health programs. Drug rehabilitation and medical based mental health programs pay for themselves in reducing petty crime, policing, and homeless costs. Open ended subsidizing of psychiatric and psychologist fees is a waste of money.

tranquilsea's avatar

Just take a look at Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. A good part of the problems there occurred when they emptied out mental hosptitals promising community based care and never delivered. So the most severely mentally ill landed on the streets and then became addicted to drugs. No one knows how to clean it up.

In the work force if you cut mental health funds you put pressure on businesses to deal with those problems and many of them can’t. That leads to a great deal of absenteeism and disability claims.

The sad fact is that when ever politicians look for ways to save $$ they always cut mental health first. It is a very short sighted thing to do.

Judi's avatar

The new health care bill allows Medicaid to fund more in home care for mental illness reducing the need and expense of some inpatient programs.

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