CONTACT YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS
CUTS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Governor Corbett’s proposed budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year includes devastating cuts to community mental health programs. It is imperative that you contact your “State” Representative and Senator and urge them to restore these harmful cuts. Let them know that persons with mental illness rely on these services to help them remain in the community, and avoid institutional settings. We also suggest that NAMI Affiliate Presidents meet with their area state legislators in their district offices (see tips for meetings).
The Governor’s budget proposes consolidating 7 programs (including community mental health services and the Behavioral Health Services Initiative) into a single, “flexible” Human Services Block Grant for counties and then slashes funding by 20%. In addition to the 20% cut in funding, there is no guarantee that the block grant funds will be used to provide mental health services. Legislators must vote on the Governor’s proposed budget.
One of DPW’s initiatives is to reduce the number of people living in institutions and when appropriate, place them in less costly, community settings. We applaud these efforts. However, it is critical that legislators restore funding for community mental health services, or individuals may end up back in institutional settings, including state hospitals, inpatient psychiatric facilities or state prisons. The proposed budget cuts jeopardize the lives of those who rely on community mental health services.
This is a very difficult budget year and it is extremely important that you contact your legislators, tell them why community mental health services are important to you and ask them to oppose the proposed cuts.
The budget issues will remain active until the budget is passed by your state Representatives and Senators (usually around June 30th). The following actions are suggested to help have an impact on changing the Governor’s recommendations for cuts to community mental health programs.
We have provided a Sample Letter which will help you to tell your story and the impact these cuts may have on your family. Personal stories are important and are a way to help illustrate for legislators and the Governor, the importance of the services targeted for cuts. For NAMI PA Affiliates and others, we have also provided an outline for requesting a meeting in local offices of local state elected officials. These meetings, are an important part of the total strategy for helping legislators to better understand the impact of the Governor’s proposed cuts.
Please open the above link to access the NAMI PA website and the resources listed below. If you cannot open directly through link than simply go to www.namipa.nami.org and click on the “Call to Action” at the top of the page! Thank You!
Talking Points Sample Letter Steps for Legislator Meetings
List of the Types of Services Impacted by Cuts Overview of the Proposed Budget
Find your Legislator OMHSAS budget Governor’s budget