In the US, a person is much more likely to be arrested and sent to jail for having a severe mental illness, than sent to a mental health facility. The author of this article puts it in plain English.
"Following the money, it is clear that incarcerating the seriously ill is often an easier alternative for underfunded mental health systems. Mental health treatment provided in jails and prisons is not funded by anemic mental health budgets, but instead paid for with more robust criminal justice dollars. While we are increasingly training law enforcement to better manage the severely mentally ill, we are simultaneously reducing mental health resources. This shifting of responsibility for the care of the mentally ill toward law enforcement and away from mental health systems is inappropriate, unjust and promotes the criminalization of this susceptible population.
What can we do"? Read the entire article by Gary Tsai here:http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/28/4221009/cuts-to-mental-health-programs.html