Monday, May 06, 2013

MAP: Which States Have Cut Treatment For the Mentally Ill the Most?

From Mother Jones. According to the map near the bottom, Arizona spends $161 or more per capita for mental health (MH), putting us in the top tier of MH spending, yet we have some of the worst issues in the country.

When Governor Jan Brewer (R) cut funding for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) in 2010, an "estimated 100,000 childless adults" lost their health care coverage (beginning in 2012), a program that also made available free or very low-cost mental health services. These reductions in coverage were part of a $500 million cut in AHCCCS funding orchestrated by Brewer and the GOP-dominated state legislature in order to balance the state budget without raising taxes (and, in fact, cutting taxes for big businesses and the wealthy). This was another pitiful example of how the GOP sacrifices those in need of help and support to increase profits for the 1%.

There is hope, however.

After initially rejecting federal money from the Affordable Care Act, Brewer changed her mind a few months ago and is willing to accept more than a billion dollars in ACA money that requires her to spend another $150 million for state health care.
The Executive estimates that, for Arizona, the expansion of Medicaid eligibility to 133% of the federal poverty level represents a major opportunity: for a state match of a little over $150 million in FY 2015, Arizona can draw $1.6 billion in federal funds into its health care sector – a return on investment more than 10-to-1.
The original cuts placed a huge burden on the few agencies in Tucson that offer free mental health care without requiring AHCCCS or any other insurance, including SACASA (where I work - our waiting list is overwhelming) and the University of Phoenix Counseling Skills Center (which only offers a maximum of 10 sessions).

Anyway, here is the Mother Jones piece on mental health funding in the U.S.

MAP: Which States Have Cut Treatment For the Mentally Ill the Most?

—By Deanna Pan | Mon Apr. 29, 2013

Between 2009 and 2012, states cut a total of $4.35 billion in public mental-health spending from their budgets. According to a report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, significant cuts to general fund appropriations for state mental health agencies have translated into a severe shortage of services, including housing, community-based treatment and access to psychiatric medications. "Increasingly, emergency rooms, homeless shelters and jails are struggling with the effects of people falling through the cracks," the report says, "due to lack of needed mental health services and supports."

The map below shows how states' spending changed on mental health services between 2009 and 2012.

Click on a state to see the specifics.

These six states and the District of Columbia made the deepest cuts to their mental health budgets.

South Carolina ($187.3 million in 2009 to $113.7 million in 2012, -39.3 percent): The director of the local NAMI chapter says the state’s mental-health department is “approaching crisis mode with funding at 1987 levels.” After closing community mental-health centers and reducing services at its remaining facilities, the department is now serving thousands fewer patients.

Alabama ($100.3 million in 2009 to $64.2 million in 2012, -36 percent): Alabama has one of the lowest numbers of psychiatrists [PDF] per capita in the nation. Despite rising demand for psychiatric hospital beds, Alabama plans to close most of its state mental hospitals this spring, laying off 948 employees.

Alaska ($125.6 million in 2009 to $84.7 million in 2012, -32.6 percent): Alaska has the nation’sNo. 2 suicide rate—and a massive mental-health workforce shortage. Sometimes there is not a single psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse [PDF] available at the mental-health center in Fairbanks, the state’s second-largest city.

Illinois ($590.7 million in 2009 to $403.7 million in 2012, $-31.7 percent): Illinois has more mentally ill people living in nursing homes than any other state. In 2010, the state settled a class-action civil rights lawsuit, agreeing to help 5,000 of them transition into community programs within five years. As of July 2012, only 45 people had moved.

Nevada ($175.5 million in 2009 to $126.2 million in 2012, -28.1 percent): In 2003, Reno police calculated how much it cost the county to repeatedly pick up and hospitalize Murray Barr, a homeless man with an alcohol addiction. Tallying up doctors’ fees and other expenses from his decade on the streets, Barr racked up a $1 million bill.

District of Columbia ($212.4 million in 2009 to $161.6 million in 2012, -23.9 percent): Children on Medicaid wait 10 weeks—or one-third of the school year—for an appointment with a Children’s National Medical Center community clinic psychiatrist.

California ($3,612.8 million in 2009 to $2,848 million in 2012, -21.2 percent): Inmates with severe mental illness often wait three to six months for a state psychiatric hospital bed. In 2007, 19 percent of state prisoners were mentally ill. By 2012, 25 percent were.


Approximately 10 percent of US homicides are committed by untreated severely mentally ill people.

Chances that a perpetrator of a mass shooting displayed signs of mental illness prior to the crime: 1 in 2

Between 1998 and 2006, the number of mentally ill people incarcerated in federal, state, and local prisons and jails more than quadrupled to 1,264,300.

Since 2006, mental-illness rates in some county jails have increased by another 50 percent.

For every $2,000 to $3,000 per year spent on treating the mentally ill, $50,000 is saved on incarceration costs.

Prisoners with mental illness cost the nation an average of nearly $9 billion a year.

In 1955, there was one psychiatric bed for every 300 Americans. In 2010, there was one psychiatric bed for every 7,100 Americans—the same ratio as in 1850.

Severe mental disorders cost the nation $193.2 billion annually in lost earnings.

Sources for pie charts: National Coalition for the Homeless, NIMH, "Hunger and Homelessness Survey," The US Conference of Mayors,"Inmate Mental Health," National Institute of Mental Health

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