These cuts hurt those with mental disabilities worse than others. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, while ailments like depression occur in about one in four adults, 6% of the U.S. population has a serious mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) and mental illness is the leading cause of disability in the United States and Canada. People with severe mental illnesses are more likely to have low incomes because their education was interrupted by the disease, according to Elaine Alfano, deputy policy director for the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. Employers are hesitant to hire them and their treatment is expensive, so they cost governments dearly if they qualify for public support.
According to the state directors’ survey in fiscal 2010 and 2011, half the states reported reducing the number of hospital beds in state-run psychiatric hospitals. States have limited the funding they give to out-patient providers and have cut staff. One-third of states have reduced the number of people their programs serve.
Read the March 9, 2011 Center for Public Integrity article: http://www.publicintegrity.org/articles/entry/3006/.