Budget Cuts For Mental Health Services in Arizona


In the past two years, Arizona has seen deep budget cuts in its mental health services in an attempt to close the budget holes that Arizona has been facing. Governor Jan Brewer, who has long been an advocate for the mental health system, claims that “dire fiscal realities are forcing them to propose cost-saving measures that carry profound consequences”. According to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors estimation, at least 2.1 billion dollars have been cut from state mental health budget in the last 3 fiscal years. These cuts have come in the form of closing adult day treatment centers, eliminating subsidies for outpatient counseling, laying off case managers and closing more than 4,000 beds in psychiatric hospitals. In addition, many patients have been forced to take generic medications even if the brand name medications work better for them as the state no longer pays for brand name drugs. Now Governor Brewer is proposing to help close the Arizona budget hole by scaling back the state’s Medicaid program.

However, it is most likely that these budget costs to mental health services will eventually cost the state much more money than had been saved. As more and more people who have been cut from these programs no longer seek care early on, more and more patients will seek help when they are much less stable. This means more people in trouble with the law, more jail inmates, more ER visits, more people not being able to maintain jobs, and more resources spent on treating people in the advanced stages of diseases. In conclusion, further mental health budget cuts should be disputed as the money saved by the state from these budget cuts are not worth the indirect financial costs and human suffering that they will result in.


3 Responses to “Budget Cuts For Mental Health Services in Arizona”

  1. Len Clark Says:

    Just another piece of evidence that extremist Arizona governor Jan Brewer thumbs her nose at the rest of the nation and the world when she finally gets the chance to come to Washington and explain her racist s.b. 1070 law. Please….help us to recall this extremist governor ! We need your help here in Arizona with our legally filed (RC-01-2012) recall of Jan Brewer ! Please go to our website: recallbrewer.com because the only media coverage we’ve gotten so far has been the Huffington Post and the San Tan Newspaper.
    Thanks again, for knowing that we’re not all racists who use “hate” to get our way here in Arizona.
    Leonard Clark, chair of the committee to recall extremist Arizona governor Jan Brewer.

  2. judypressleyphillips Says:

    I totally agree with your thoughts. Why don’t they consider the consequences for these cuts?
    This is horrible.
    Thank you for enlightening me to this issue.

  3. mdres12 Says:

    I worked as a mental health case manager for two years here in Maryland and was ceaselessly frustrated by the funding cuts. In that period my caseload doubled as funding for programming became increasingly difficult to come by.

    Now I work in an emergency department and see backups from mental health cases all the time. Patients have been known to stay in the ED in some extreme cases for over a week waiting for beds to become available. Closure of beds is sure to cause more backups in Arizona as stated in the post and by extension will sap the abilities of ED staffs to manage acute medical cases. This will inevitably lead to longer ED wait times.

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