Sequestration, Mental Health and Gun Violence
If you have been following RACblog at any point for the last few months, you know we have been following very closely what will happen to key programs that help facilitate social justice in our country if the looming sequester takes effect at the start of the next month. Mental health programs will also be hit hard if the looming across-the-board cuts take effect. Mental Health America, a leading advocacy organization on mental health and substance abuse issues, issued a report back in October with rather disturbing projections for the human cost of cuts to these programs. The analysis found:
- 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 will miss out on coordinated mental health services, early intervention and prevention programming, and other 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.
A large number of people may be evicted from their homes, there will be fewer resources to help suicidal teens, people already receiving treatment will suddenly loose their treatment, and people suffering from substance abuse will have even fewer options for seeking treatment.
The outlook wasn’t good when the report was released in October; however, there have been some major national developments in the last four months that are cause for further concern. In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, a point of common ground between gun violence prevention and gun rights advocates has been around protecting mental health funding (although some argue that, while this is an important issue, it will not alone solve our nation’s gun violence epidemic). Let us hope that we can continue to work together to protect mental health funding throughout the sequestration debate.
Image Courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch.