Psychologists Ask for an End to Funding Cuts in Wake of Conn. School Shooting
Published December 18th, 2012
GAINESVILLE - As the nation mourns the loss of 20 children at the hands of a lone gunman in Connecticut, attention is now shifting towards finding ways to prevent acts like this from happening again.
Initial calls for new gun laws are being met with equally-loud cries for more funding for mental health services. A recent study conducted by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting shows Florida ranked at the very bottom of the list when it comes to mental health funding, spending less per capita than most every other state in the nation, save Texas.
"Only one-third of the kids are getting the mental healthcare that they need," said Dr. Elias Sarkis, a longtime child psychologist in Gainesville. "Only half of the very serious mentally-ill kids are getting the care that they need. It's really troubling," said Sarkis. He says mental health services are often the first thing to be cut during tough economic times.
Meantime, staff at the Meridian Behavioral Healthcare facility in Gainesville say their budget continues to shrink as well. Despite serving more patients, the non-profit faces about an $800,000 cut in funding from state and municipal governments over the next fiscal year, worrying experts and parents alike, that many people who could benefit from these services will not end up receiving them.
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