Letter – State shouldn't cut mental healthIt is that time of year when a bloodbath of budget cuts ensues at the state Capitol. There are several programs throughout the state that face either cuts or complete elimination.
To the editor:
It is that time of year when a bloodbath of budget cuts ensues at the state Capitol. There are several programs throughout the state that face either cuts or complete elimination.
When assessing the need for mental health services in a foundering economy, one aspect that should gain focus is the long-term benefits of mental health programs such as Region IV South ACT and Vikingland CSP. It is my fear that if these programs start to lose funding we could possibly start going backward, leaving many individuals who are in desperate need of services without and creating a venue where we end up paying more money in the long term.
It has not been such a long time since institutionalization and lobotomies were the norm. Now, instead of traditional institutionalized treatment we have several programs that assist these individuals in staying out in the community.
Additionally, these programs are much more cost effective than 24/7 programs such as hospitals and treatment centers. There are many cases where this type of care continues to be needed; however, it is not as many as 20 or even 10 years ago.
Mental health resources are often a gateway to other services individuals may need or qualify for. Usually, these services end up as a substantially cheaper investment than the cost of a two-week visit at the hospital or frequent visits to the emergency room.
I very strongly encourage anyone who has a vested interest in mental health issues to write, call or e-mail those individuals who represent us and tell them we will not compromise as a state with mental health care. Please let our representatives know that we will not fall victim to budget cuts that will cost us more in the end.
Renee Iverson, team leader,
Region IV South ACT Team