According to a new report entitled “State Mental Health Cuts: A National Crisis,” California has cut over $587 million in state spending on mental health over the last two years. This total, unfortunately, means that California has reduced the amount of money spent on mental health care more than any other state in the nation.
In total, the cuts represent a 16.3 percent reduction in the amount spent on health in 2009. That year, a little over $3.6 billion was devoted to investment in mental health care. In 2011, that figured dropped to slightly more than $3 billion.
One of the biggest reasons for the drop in mental health care spending by California has been the worst recession since the Great Depression. Because of financial concerns, huge reductions were made to non-Medicaid state mental health spending. Some reports note that over the last two years, the cuts to such spending exceeded the $1 billion mark.
While the dire financial situation in California makes these cuts at least partially understandable, mental health experts warn that these reductions come at a cost. After all, less money for mental health care when there have been no indications that the mental health of citizens is improving means just one thing – worse care for patients with mental health issues.
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