April 26, 2010; Source: Palm Beach Post | May is mental health month but from one state after another come reports of cuts to mental health services, despite the fact that advocates are well prepared with warnings about the directly resultant long term costs of increased homelessness, imprisonment and preventable hospitalization. In Florida, providers are looking at $18 million in cuts to mental health and substance abuse services. In Illinois, the proposed cuts to mental health and substance abuse services together total $38 million which advocates estimate would result in 30,000 people receiving reduced services and 16,000 Illinois residents remaining completely unserved. The number projected to be unserved is oddly the same (16,000) in Oklahoma even though the suicide rate is 38 percent above the national average. The arguments for the maintenance of funding in this field are obvious and well documented but it appears that this is one field in which infrastructure is likely to be lost in the short term although the Mental Health Parity and the Health Reform laws suggest that now is the time to ready the field for growth.—Ruth McCambridge
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