Mental health advocates decry possible budget cuts

Mental health advocates decry possible budget cuts

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Mental health advocates say cutting funding to programs won't save the state money because it will force more spending elsewhere.

About $5.5 million in state funding could be eliminated for mental health programs in next year's budget, based on the latest funding scenario. Federal matching dollars from Medicaid also would be lost.

Sherri Wittwer, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Utah, says the system already is struggling and additional cuts would be devastating.

Advocates said Thursday the cuts could mean losing up to 90 beds at the Utah State Hospital, where the state's most severely mentally ill are housed. They also said that without treatment, many mentally ill people end up in jail and that problem could get worse.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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