Anybody who’s been an administrator in a community mental health system in America in the past three decades knows the drill. During bust times, state governments actually come close to doing a good job with members of society who are at their most vulnerable. Services are — while never fully-funded — well-funded, and for the most part, there’s enough staff to cover the huge need in communities for mental health care for the poor.
But when budgets tighten, the first place governors look to cut are social services. High on the list of social services to be cut are mental health services, because they are often people intensive. Nevermind that most of those people are poorly trained “aides” or others who often have little direct education or experience with people with mental illness.
Governors and state legislatures do this because they know few people complain when government has to cut services to the poor. Sure, a few advocates and agencies may get up in arms about the cuts, but they quickly get drowned out by the fact that nobody wants their taxes to go up and cuts have to be made somewhere.
So as Massachusetts considers more cuts to mental health services, the New York Times yesterday took a look at a tragic case that occurred earlier this year, when someone who was suffering from schizophrenia allegedly brutally beat and murdered his group home counselor and aide, Stephanie Moulton.
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