I have worked in the human services field for 28 years, and things have never been worse. Funding cuts have led to service cuts, which have led to compromised individuals who are unserved or underserved.
I am of the opinion that human services have consistently been an easy target for funding cuts because the individuals we serve don't represent a significant portion of the voting populace, and therefore, why should legislators care? We don't have the lobbying power of the energy companies or the large corporations. No politician feels threatened if they lose the "mentally ill" vote.
Meanwhile, we serve the individuals that the general public wants no part of. As long as we are doing our jobs effectively, the general public doesn't even have to know we exist. But human services receive plenty of attention when something bad happens. We receive no credit for the times we prevent incidents, just the blame when a tragedy occurs.
In these desperate times, desperate people do desperate things. Cutting funding and resources will only enhance the desperation. Nobody working in the field of mental health is getting rich, and we are now creating desperation among providers. More people in need and fewer resources is a recipe for disaster.
First Published June 30, 2012 12:00 AM