States Reduce Mental Health Services

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Babcock Building in the South Carolina State Mental Hospital campus. (Mr. Guybrarian/flickr)

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and ongoing recession, one of the services states have most frequently chosen cut have been those relating to mental health. Since 2010, nearly 4,000 state psychiatric facilities have been closed, and the duration of hospital stays have gone down 39 percent. However, it's no secret that financial difficulties increase rates of depression and anxiety, and these shortened periods of observation have sometimes had fatal consequences.

Tom Moroney is bureau chief for Bloomberg News in Boston. Marcia Knapp is the mother of Adam Knapp, a 30-year-old schizophrenic who died during a manic episode after entering and leaving three hosptials.


Marcia Knapp and Tom Moroney

Comments [4]

Harold A. Maio from Florida

a 30-year-old schizophrenic
The form you have employed is disrespectful.

Harold A. Maio, retired mental health editor
8955 Forest St
Ft Myers FL 33907


Feb. 29 2012 10:24 AM
NK Dalton from WV

I tweeted Celeste Headlee this morning about the same issue Maureen mentioned - using the term "a schizophrenic." I usually don't respond to this because I think the media will eventually "get it" when it comes to using appropriate language, but it keeps going on and on and on. I want to recommend the following site for Celeste (and others) so that this stops among journalists. The Takeaway is a great show and please become a leader in this area.
National Center on Disability and Journalism - Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Disability Style Guide

This story is such an important one. Lack of awareness on the part of reporters (even good ones) only amplifies how society typically views these tragic events as a problem with the individual (e.g., "a schizophrenic"), as opposed to the failings of our current mental health system.

Feb. 28 2012 10:49 AM

Imagine blaming this tragedy on drivers and city planners for not being civil to each other and somehow provoking this incident. It was that kind of warped logic that prevailed in the political culture one year ago after the infamous Tucson violence. This is the important conversation about mental health services that should have taken place one year ago among elected officials and not the mendacious political distractions about civility that were used to cow their opposition.

Feb. 28 2012 09:57 AM
Maureen O'Connor from Brooklyn, NY

I listened with all-too-familiar heartbreak about the devastating effects of reduction in mental health services. In addition to the economic challenges, stigma against people with mental illness contributes to the suffering that families experience in trying to obtain proper services for their loved ones. PLEASE do not add to the stigma by labeling people by their illness. Would you have said, "Adam Knapp, 30-year-old cancerIC?" Mr. Knapp was a person who suffered from a disease called schizophrenia, a person WITH schizophrenia. He was NOT "a schizophrenic." As we know well for our family member with schizophrenia, the illness only defines them when they fail to receive the treatment they need.

Feb. 28 2012 08:32 AM

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