The Mental Health Minute

Articles and news about mental health issues

Mental Health Care Cuts: Texas in Trouble

Here’s an article that describes the state of mental health in the great state of Texas.  Although I am from Texas, I started my career in the state of Oklahoma and I am appalled at the difference between the two states.  I find it very amusing that Texans always denigrate Oklahoma as being backward and behind the times due to it’s high rural population, but what I am seeing both in the news and online is that Texas is slipping backward in its dealings with the mentally ill and Oklahoma seems to be a much more forward thinker.  I say, its’ an interesting switch.

Let me know what you think of this article, won’t you?  Click here to view the original article and leave them a comment.

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Submitted by KC Kelly Ph.D. on 2010-07-25

The many states in America that are facing huge financial deficits are now being effected by cutting of health care, in particular, mental health care. The stated of Texas is seemingly facing one of the largest deficits and is cutting their mental health care at a time when people need these services the most.

With employment layoffs leading to an increase in depression, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and even suicide, mental health services are needed more now than ever. However, that is not going to happen, especially in the state of Texas.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Lillian Aguirre Ortiz reported, “The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) recently released a proposal to eliminate $134 million from its already underfunded and overburdened mental health programs. Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and Speaker Joe Straus ordered the agency to cut its 2012-13 proposed budget by 10 percent. This reduction is in addition to a 5 percent cut that was recently made to the current DSHS budget.”

By cutting mental health care in the state of Texas, they are asking for an increase in issues in so many other areas. With the legislature planning to cut a proposed $134 million from health care, the state is only asking for problems.

According to the Houston Chronicles, Ortiz, “Untreated mental illnesses lead many individuals to cycle in and out of homelessness as well as our emergency rooms, jails and prisons. Lack of treatment also leads to an increase in the utilization of police man-hours since law enforcement personnel are often called in to deal with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.”

The increase in issues of crime, violence and suicide caused by those who are mentally ill are expected to increase due to these cuts in services. The public at large, will therefore be put into danger with many public safety issues that will most likely arise.

There has been talk of a proposed cutting of $80 million that would be taken from Texas’ thirty nine publicly supported community mental health centers. These centers provide mental health services for those who are in the low socio-economic bracket and cannot afford health care or mental health care. The cuts are said to eliminate services to 11,000 adults and 2,000 children across the stated of Texas.

The five state hospitals will also suffer with a proposed $44 million said to be cut. With over 183 beds in these hospitals proposed to be eliminated, where are the mentally ill going to go? The Harris County Jail is now the largest provider of mental health services in Texas due to the fact that those in the jail who are awaiting beds will not get them due to the fact that they will not be available.

Texas is not the only stated facing a difficult financial future, as other states worry that mental health service cuts will be coming soon. The long term effects of these cuts is yet to be seen, but health reform needs to be more closely scrutinized in order to keep the mentally ill and the public at large safe.

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July 28, 2010 - Posted by | Mental Health | , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Mental Health Care Cuts: Texas in Trouble…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    Trackback by Beat Alcoholism 101 | July 29, 2010 | Reply

  2. It is true, cutting medical funding is going to lead to a rollercoaster ride in unemployment and homelessness. The damaged caused by this is not only to the individual but the family as well. Thanks for the blog,
    http://northtexasbdg.org

    Comment by amtown | September 12, 2011 | Reply

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