Fresno County To Consider Mental Health Program Cuts
The Fresno County Board of Supervisors will meet next month to discuss ways to reduce a $15 million deficit at the county Department of Behavioral Health, the Fresno Bee reports.
Among the proposals to be considered are:
- Reducing the hours of operation at The Californian clinic in Fresno, and at clinics in Mendota, Huron, Firebaugh, west Fresno, and the Fresno neighborhoods of Pinedale, Sanger and Reedley;
- Eliminating some mental health therapy sessions at county jails;
- Eliminating therapy support groups for county residents and their families; and
- Hiring private companies to oversee some emergency mental health services.
Mental health advocates say reducing or eliminating programs will increase county costs because people will seek care at emergency departments. In addition, advocates say reductions could lead to more people with mental illnesses being placed in the prison system or increase homelessness among people with mental illnesses.
Law enforcement officials also say a reduction of programs could create a public safety issue (Ginis/Anderson, Fresno Bee, 1/30).
In other mental health care news, "California Connected" -- a weekly, hourlong newsmagazine produced by PBS stations in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco that covers state events and issues -- on Friday examined mental health care for inmates in state prisons.
The segment includes comments from:
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca;
- Alex Kopelowicz, professor of psychiatry at University of California-Los Angeles;
- Psychologists and psychiatrists working with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health;
- Guards at Los Angeles' Twin Towers Correctional Facility, the largest mental health institution in the U.S.;
- Family members of inmates at Twin Towers;
- Clients of the Village Integrated Service Agency; and
- California residents and inmates with mental illnesses (Shaffer, "California Connected," KVIE, 1/27).