Community Mental Health Making Budget Cuts

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Board members and consumers of Community Mental Health Services in Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties met Thursday to discuss a $3.2 million budget cut.

Community Mental Health directors say they will cut $3.2 million from the budget by Oct. 1, 2002. They've cut more than $11 million in the budget over the past five years, and that's because the cost of paying staff members and keeping mental health programs running keeps going up while state funding stays the same.

Outpatient services, including child therapy, will suffer as a result of the cuts. Some say the state should put more money into mental health care services as a preventative measure. Officials say addressing mental health problems in children and young adults could prevent them from killing themselves or going to jail - which could be costly.

Officials say they're trying to figure out a way to reduce employee wage increases over the next few years. They're also trying to lessen the cost of health care insurance for their employees.

Nearly 600 consumers and 50 staff members will be affected by this year's cuts.