Monday, December 31, 2012

Mental Health Services Erode As States Slash Budgets

Mental Health Services

(Repeats story moved Dec 29 without changes to headline or text)

* State mental health budgets slashed since 2009
* 11 mln mentally ill report 'unmet need' for care
* 'Cycling through the system' 

By Sharon Begley 

NEW YORK, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Lori, a 39-year-old mother in New Jersey, would like to save for the usual things: college, retirement, vacations. But those goals are far down her wish list. For now, she and her husband are putting aside money for a home alarm system. They're not worried about keeping burglars out. They need to keep their son in. 

Mike, 7, began seeing a psychiatrist in 2009, after one pre-school kicked him out for being "difficult" and teachers at the public school he later attended were worried about his obsessive thoughts and extreme anxiety. He was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. 

As she keeps trying to get help for him, "I am learning firsthand how broken the system is when dealing with mental illness," said Lori. (Surnames of patients and their families have been withheld to protect their privacy.)
"We fight with doctors, our insurance company, educators, each other; the list goes on and on ... It isn't even a system. It's not like there's a call center to help you figure out what to do and how to get help."  Read more here:

It should be against the law that family members are forced to turn to the criminal justice system, due to the failure of the mental health system, when our loved ones become too ill to know they need help. Please read the entire article for a deeper understanding of the seriousness of 'criminalizing the mentally ill' -- GG Burns, KY mental health advocate

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