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The congressional assault on mental health: The do nothing congress finally draws blood

Posted Oct 04 2012 11:59pm

The 2102 Congress was the greatest do nothing Congress in my memory.  It substituted ideology for ideas, finger pointing for making a point, and blaming and scapegoating for legislative discussion.  It turned Congress into a four letter word and left the American public hanging out on a cliff.  Now they are getting ready to push us off the cliff.

On January 1 due to a process called sequestration the federal government will begin the process of a series of automatic budget cuts brought about by their total inability to work together to decide anything.  This is the “financial cliff” you hear talked about in the paper.  And finally their words will be more than pompous nonsense and mean posturing.  Finally, finally, finally they will draw blood.  It will be our blood, but I truly dont see where that even begins to matter to them.

Mental Health America has just published a report that details what “sequestration” means for the mental health system. The numbers make me sick.  Basically somewhere between 8-11% of federal spending on mental health will end.  The actual breakdown is horrifying:

  • 684,000 individuals will lose critical employment and housing assistance, case management services,  and school based supports.
  • 1.13 million children and adults will be at risk of losing access to any type of public mental health support.
  • More than 320,000 children our on coordinated mental health services, early intervention and prevention s\programing and suicide prevention services,
  • 230,000 individuals will lose access to treatment and prevention services.
  • 169,000 fewer individuals will be admitted to substance use treatment programs.

The human cost of this is staggering.  It will be perhaps the largest and most devastating act of violence towards those people with mental health issues in the history of this country.  It is a crime.  But yet is the ultimate expression of law making body that lacks even the most basic sense of obligation to those it serves.  Words fail me.  I really dont know what more to say.

Perhaps what we really need to do is contact our legislators and find out what they have to say.

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