Monday, November 2, 2009

Economic Support for Mental Health Facilities Falls As Local Governments Make Budget Cuts

I've written about my great mental healthcare facility called Valley Mental Health. Both my psychiatrist and my therapist work there. It's a beautiful building and contains many programs to both treat and educate those over 50 with serious mental health issues. There is a computer lab, large rooms for group therapy, and an incredibly good staff. In Utah like most states there are not enough rooms for inpatient treatment for those in extreme crisis, but Valley Mental Health offers all day care as an alternative to hospitalization for those suffering a temporary crisis.

Last month there were two articles in the Salt Lake Tribune about the budget cuts that will be affecting the staffing and services offered at Valley Mental Health. They are devastating cuts. I've called to see if my psychiatrist and therapist will still be there, and yes, they will, but it will be harder to get in to see them since they'll be taking on more patients as other professional staff will be laid off. Before the cuts it took two months to get an appointment with my psychiatrist. I have my therapists cell phone number so I can talk through a mini crisis over the phone. But these cuts will drastically effect so many just coming into the system or who live in assisted living facilities but come to Valley Mental Health for group therapy. This will effect the money for transportation for these patients as well as cut the staff of facilitators who run the group therapy sessions. It's going to be a rough winter for the mentally ill seniors who depend on Valley Mental health.


Charlotte said...

Just in time for the holidays....that's really unfortunate timing. I have worked in an emergency psych hospital during the holidays and adequate staffing is imperative.

Jack Jodell said...

It's disgusting how we can always find money for new weapons or bailouts for big business but somehow human needs like health care and adequate mental health facilities and programs always seem to go wanting. What a screwed-up set of priorities we have!

themom said...

I hate to hear stories like this. But it is definitely a sign of the times. I'm glad you are able to reach your professionals in an emergency - that is a good thing.

BTW...I have another award for you...when you get around to it!!

Take care.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

It's sad and destructive to the community. They have made several large cut backs to public mental health / drug addiction facilities here in West Palm, too. Utah: keep lemongrass oil to 'snap out of it' and lavender or rose attar to soothe the mind! :-)

Samantha Thomas said...

I am astounded that You have need of a psychiatrist and a therapist. Just reading Your blog and poetry has been a boon to my mental health. You are one of my favorite writers and certainly one of my favorite Human Beings. Thank You for Being, Sweetie.