House Finance Committee Considering Cutting at Least
7,500 Children and Adults from Mental Health Services
Please sign this petition and share it with anyone you know so that children, adults and families with Behavioral Health issues can continue to receive the necessary support they need to be successful contributors to their communities. This is an opportunity to make your voice heard to the NH Senate Finance Committee about potential changes to the NH budget. Including (but not limited to) proposed changes being made to Developmental Disabilities, Education, and Mental Health.
The Governor’s proposed budget looks to:
Close the G unit at New Hampshire Hospital (NHH),
Change the payment system for Mental Health Centers;
Reduce in the number of Community Mental Health Centers from ten to seven;
Cut 6% from the rate paid for Case Management and cut an additional 5% across the CMHCs
Cut 5% from Peer Support Agencies and NAMIPrivatize the state operated Transitional Housing programs on the grounds of NHH;
The budget reductions proposed by DHHS to the House Finance, Division III further looks to cut funding by the following:
Cap caseloads at the current level (essentially cutting off all new intakes);
Reduce the number of adults eligible for services by 42%
Reduce the number of children eligible for services by 46%.
This will cut 7,500 New Hampshire citizens from receiving valuable mental health services.
Stop all voluntary admissions to NHH;
Limit admissions to NHH to 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (no after hours or weekend admits);
Limit Emergency Services (which cover all residents of New Hampshire, not just eligible BBH clients) to M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Change the currnet Administrative Rule to establush waiting lists for mental health services
Reduce funding for Referral Education and Assistance Program (REAP).
Many other areas will also be cut or elimintated, including services to people with Developmental Disabilities,Elders and the Homeless; Substance Abuse Services; Community Health Centers; Legal Aid and Wellness and Prevention
While the Governor’s budget is harsh and will greatly affect services, the budget reductions proposed to the House Finance, Division III will have a profound and lasting adverse affect on the ability to provide drastically needed services to some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
What can you do right now? Sign this petition and then call, email, or write your legislators NOW to let them know your thoughts on the proposed budget and how it will impact your family and community.
I am writing to express my grave concerns about the recently approved budget proposals from Governor Lynch and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). These budgets are proposing severe cuts to DHHS, which would devastate services offered by Behavioral Health agencies in New Hampshire.
While the Governor’s budget is harsh and will greatly affect services, the budget reductions approved by the House of Representatives will have a profound and lasting adverse affect on the ability to provide drastically needed services to some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, cutting coverage for the mentally ill leads to suicides, shatters families and places burdens on the more costly systems; i.e. Emergency Departments, law enforcement, special education, county and municipal government. Cutting the funding to health and mental health providers, and cutting NH Hospital services reduces our infrastructure, cuts jobs of NH workers and makes for an unhealthy population.
In New Hampshire an estimated 254,000 adults and 55,756 children are likely to have experienced mental illness in the past year. New Hampshire Hospital, the state’s only psychiatric hospital, has reduced the number of beds from 230 to 202. Over the last 10 years, admissions have increased 104%, expenditures only 61% and staffing has decreased, delaying admissions of individuals, including children. New Hampshire’s community hospitals are seeing a marked increase in emergency room visits that are behavioral health-related and 40% of NH’s incarcerated population are living with a mental illness (for female inmates the rates are even higher at 71%), and 75% have a history of substance abuse. It is already a sad fact that in NH, many youth and adults with mental health needs end up in the juvenile or criminal justice system, not because of the seriousness of their offenses, but because of their need for mental health treatment that is otherwise unavailable to them in the community.
While statistics show that people with mental illness are no more dangerous than the general population, without adequate treatment the risk to a person’s overall safety, health, welfare and finances is extreme and the consequences can be dire. Those consequences will translate directly to our local communities in the form of increased burden on schools, law enforcement, emergency personnel, hospital emergency rooms, homeless shelters, the criminal justice system and correctional facilities, among others and the costs associated with this will be enormous.
The proposed budget cuts will basically eviscerate the entire mental health system in NH leaving thousands of citizens with limited or no mental health care. The costs and risks as a result of this will far outweigh the projected savings in this budget proposal, as our jails, local hospitals, schools, homeless shelters, etc. will end of picking up the costs at an even higher rate and the potential risk to individual and public safety, up to and including loss of life, is very serious and very real. While the need to make cuts and balance the state budget is painfully evident, it is short sighted and misguided to attempt to do it on the backs of people with Developmental Disabilities, children who are Severely Emotionally Disturbed and adults and elders with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness. The consequences of these drastic cuts will have a devastating and far reaching effect on public health, public safety, financial stability and quality of life for citizens and taxpayers in New Hampshire.
Please take this opportunity to make a stand to support the Mental Health needs of your constituents and other citizens of New Hampshire by providing the necessary financial support so children, adults and families who experience behavioral health issues can remain safe and continue to be contributing members of their communities and state.
Michelle Donovan started this petition with a single signature, and now has 1,022 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.