Recession: Mental Health Services Cut

BOSTON, July 16 (UPI) — Britain and Hong Kong have beefed up mental health resources due to the global economic crisis, but U.S. services are being slashed, researchers say.

Study author Dominic Hodgkin of Brandeis University says one survey found 32 state mental health agencies in the United States report budget cuts in 2009.

On average, the budgets cuts amounted to 4.9 percent of the budget and affected inpatient adult services, clinic adult services, inpatient children’s services, clinic services for children and targeted case management services for children, the researcher says.

One report says 13 states reduced Medicaid payments to providers and 14 have eliminated coverage for some treatments. The 2009 mental health budget cuts are on top of similar budget cuts the year before.

“The recession poses formidable challenges for mental health services in the coming years,” Hodgkin says in a statement. “While there are encouraging signs here and there of enlightened responses from governments that recognize the value of mental health services, in most countries, spending is being cut dramatically.”

Britain designated funds to treat workers who have lost their jobs and as a result are suffering anxiety and depression, and deployed 3,600 psychotherapists and hundreds of specialized nurses to counseling centers, while Hong Kong increased psychiatric training for doctors and nurses for recession-related mental health disorders.

The findings are published in the International Journal of Mental Health.

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