Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Budget Hearing on Mental Health

More testifying today at the State House on the Mental Health budget slash for '08-'09. I've been up there twice in front of the House Finance Committee. The vulnerable group of those with serious mental illness is easy to pick on as many can't testify for themselves and won't show up in large groups with signs. While most of the news concerns RITE Care & kids, this budget also severely affects those with both mental retardation & illnesses.

I can't make this hearing, but I know others will. It's hard to imagine how much less help we can give those with serious mental illness & limited resources beyond absolutely nothing. In our families' fight with schizophrenia we alone have spent more than $10,000 (yes, we have health insurance), not to mention extensive use of the few public resources that exist. I refer here to the judiciary system (police, courts, lawyers, etc). There's always more room for anyone in jail. Why jail rather than other resources which would prove far more effective & cheap, is beyond me.

NAMI-RI has been there to offer assistance & guidance. Without them my family would still be deep in searching for help. We were also lucky in that we found a local psychiatrist with a sympathetic scheduler & a snow cancellation. Otherwise it was a minimum three month wait. NAMI's budget is to be cut by 20%. Shame on them for offering education & support groups. Mental illness is NOT hopeless but without treatment there are serious effects for ALL of us. See my previous postings for why you should care & sidebar links.

But we're told that supporting business (although rarely small business) & wealthy residents is a higher priority. Shame on us for buying into that.
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