States Cut Mental Health Funding

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The New York Times reported on March 16, 2011 that nearly two-thirds of states have cut mental health funding from their budgets over the last two years, according to a report released by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI).

Alaska with 35 percent, and South Carolina and Arizona both with 23 percent made the largest percentage cuts to mental health spending in their general fund budgets, which do not include federal Medicaid funding, the study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found.

“Cutting mental health means that costs only get shifted to emergency rooms, schools, police, local courts, jails and prisons,” said NAMI executive director Michael Fitzpatrick. “The taxpayer still pays the bill.”

“Some states are trying to hold the line or make progress, but most are cutting deep. This stands in contrast to the intense national concern about the mental health care system following the Arizona tragedy two months ago,” he said.

Going against this trend, according to NAMI, where three states: Oregon, North Carolina, and Rhode Island, with 23, 21, and 7 percent respectively.

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