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Posts tagged: mental health

Rusche: NRA MIA On Mental Health

Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, in Huckleberries comments section (re: Obama on gun vote: 'Shameful day'): But in the Legislature and the Governor's budget this year spending for mental health services was decreased over the year before, and millions under pre-recession levels. Health and Welfare has withdrawn MH workers from all except our urban areas due to budget restrictions, county jails and prisons are now the largest provider of mental health services in the State. We stopped funding for behavioral counselors in our schools. I tend to agree that the amendment would not have done much, but in spite of the loud cries from the NRA and pro-gun advocates that better mental health services are needed, we are making no progress. I would like to see the NRA put some effort behind improving mental health services. More below. (StateImpact file photo)

Question: Do you think the NRA should use its considerable grass-roots clout to lobby for more funding for mental health services?

Idaho Mental Health Cuts In Top 10

StateImpact Idaho is beginning to look at the effects of the $34 million Medicaid cut that the Idaho Legislature passed last session.  Related to that, a new report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) tallies the state-by-state changes in general fund appropriations for state mental health agencies since 2009.  According to the report, Idaho is among the ten states that have made the greatest cuts, by percentage, since that year. As advocates for people with mental illness will point out, Idaho hasn’t had a great track record of funding services for the state’s mentally ill. “I think the shocking part is we spend $44 per capita on mental health, and the national average is $122. So we’re about a third of the national average,” said Doug McKnight, president of the Idaho chapter of NAMI/Molly Messick, State Impact. More here.

Question: Do you suppose underfunding mental health services is one of the way's the Otter administration provides good governance?

Idaho Last In Mental Health Support

Although money for every state was tight this legislative session, one-third of them actually put more toward mental health. But Idaho was not one of them. And with the latest round of cuts, Idaho is now at the very bottom of the list. “I was about in eighth grade when I got depressed and kind of blew it off,” says 22-year-old Lindsey Altorfer.  “When I was a sophomore in high school I would cry myself to sleep and have panic attacks, and I thought something was wrong, and I kept bearing it and saying I'm fine, until I eventually had a breakdown.”
For Altorfer, that breakdown included two hospital stays after suicide attempts. Finally, as a high school senior at Capital High School in Boise, Altorfer was diagnosed as bi-polar with attention deficit disorder/Mike Murad, KBOI. More here. (AP file illustration)

Question: Last in number of women holding judge's positions and now last in mental health support. Is there a pattern here?

Mental Health Services Faces Cuts

The economic downturn has left deep scars on Idaho's public services for the mentally ill, including efforts to help some of the state's most-vulnerable children. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter's recommended budget for the Department of Health and Welfare's mental health services division for fiscal year 2012 is $32.4 million, down 4.6 percent from 2011 and a full 19 percent less than in 2008. The division has laid off or left unfilled 35 full time positions to assist adults with mental health problems, and another 14 positions to help kids/Associated Press via Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Is this a good time to be cutting mental health services?

Stacy: Mental Health Issue Hits Home

StacyP: I have a 19 year old son who suffers from chronic depression, among other things, and requires medication and regular counseling to keep at bay the demons that urge him to hurt himself. When his doctors told me a year ago that he was responsible for his own treatment from then on I was devastated. Fortunately for me, my son has not decided to deviate from “the plan”, but I recognize that could happen at any time, for any reason. The doctors wished me luck (and a good lawyer) when it does because that's what it takes to get someone hopsitalized for mental illness these days. Sad, sad times.

Question: Are you dealing with a friend or loved one who has a serious mental health problem?

Fisherman: Deal w/Underlying Issue

Old Fisherman (re: weekend thread about attack on Congresswoman Giffords & others): After spending time to read through this long thread, it's refreshing to see a precious few of you are trying to make sense out of this and undersand what happened. Some of you pay respects to all those injured or dead, and their families. A few of you have hit the nail on the head regarding mental health. We as a Nation have failed miserably to provide for our citizens that have mental health issues, and yes, gov't cuts that funding first when the shoe pinches. That has to be corrected. Then our own state puts mental health on the block along with education. If someone were able to look back over the past 5 years at shootings, the numbers would be chilling. The reasons are pretty much the same. I am not saying if the alleged shooter had access to mental health this would not have happened, but it's worth thinking about.

Question: Would better funding for mental health services in this country help defuse murderous assaults like the one over the weekend in Tucson, Ariz.?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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